My thanks to a friend for causing me to further reflect on this article: “Can computers ever replace the classroom?” [Beard]


From DSC:
I’d like to thank Mr. Eric Osterberg — a fraternity brother and friend of mine — for sending me the following article. I wrote back to him. After thanking Eric for the article, I said:

Such an article makes me reflect on things — which is always a good thing for me to try to see my blindspots and/or to think about the good and bad of things. Technologies are becoming more powerful and integrated into our lives — for better at times and for worse at other times.

I’m wondering how the legal realm can assist and/or help create a positive future for societies throughout the globe…any thoughts?


Can computers ever replace the classroom? — from theguardian.com by Alex Beard
With 850 million children worldwide shut out of schools, tech evangelists claim now is the time for AI education. But as the technology’s power grows, so too do the dangers that come with it. 

Excerpts:

But it’s in China, where President Xi Jinping has called for the nation to lead the world in AI innovation by 2030, that the fastest progress is being made. In 2018 alone, Li told me, 60 new AI companies entered China’s private education market. Squirrel AI is part of this new generation of education start-ups. The company has already enrolled 2 million student users, opened 2,600 learning centres in 700 cities across China, and raised $150m from investors.

The supposed AI education revolution is not here yet, and it is likely that the majority of projects will collapse under the weight of their own hype.

The point, in short, is that AI doesn’t have to match the general intelligence of humans to be useful – or indeed powerful. This is both the promise of AI, and the danger it poses.

It was a reminder that Squirrel AI’s platform, like those of its competitors worldwide, doesn’t have to be better than the best human teachers – to improve people’s lives, it just needs to be good enough, at the right price, to supplement what we’ve got. The problem is that it is hard to see technology companies stopping there. For better and worse, their ambitions are bigger. “We could make a lot of geniuses,” Li told me.

 

US falls out of top 20 in Rule of Law Index, while global declines continue — from abajournal.com by Debra Cassens Weiss

Excerpt:

For the first time, the United States fell out of the top 20 countries for adherence to the rule of law in an index compiled by the World Justice Project.

The United States dropped to No. 21 in the index, while Spain moved in to the top 20, according to press releases here and here and a summary here. The index is based on national surveys of more than 130,000 households and 4,000 legal practitioners and experts around the world.

 

AI laws are coming — from forbes.com by Kathleen Walch

Excerpt:

The pace of adoption for AI and cognitive technologies continues unabated with widespread, worldwide, rapid adoption. Adoption of AI by enterprises and organizations continues to grow, as evidenced by a recent survey showing growth across each of the seven patterns of AI. However, with this growth of adoption comes strain as existing regulation and laws struggle to deal with emerging challenges. As a result, governments around the world are moving quickly to ensure that existing laws, regulations, and legal constructs remain relevant in the face of technology change and can deal with new, emerging challenges posed by AI.

Research firm Cognilytica recently published a report on Worldwide AI Laws and Regulations that explores the latest legal and regulatory actions taken by countries around the world across nine different AI-relevant areas.

 

 

Facial recognition startup Clearview AI says its full client list was stolen — from engadget.com by Igor Bonifacic

Excerpt:

You might expect a high-profile (and controversial) facial recognition startup like Clearview AI would have its data locked down, but it turns out it’s just as vulnerable as almost any other company to malicious individuals. In a notification obtained by The Daily Beast, the company says a recent vulnerability allowed someone to gain “unauthorized access” to a list of all of its customers. Clearview works with approximately 600 law enforcement agencies across North America, including the Chicago Police Department.

Also see:

 

 

American Bar Assn. President criticizes U.S. legal system as backward, resistant to change — from forbes.com by Patricia Barnes

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Judy Perry Martinez, president of the American Bar Association (ABA), has issued an unusually frank plea calling upon the legal profession to support reform of America’s backward legal system to better serve the public.

“We need new ideas,” said Martinez. “We are one-fifth into the 21st century, yet we continue to rely on 20th-century processes, procedures and regulations. We need to retain 20th-century values but advance them using 21st-century approaches that can increase access to justice.”

Martinez’ comments are contained in a letter appearing in the February-March 2020 issue of the ABA’s monthly magazine, The ABA Journal.

Martinez expressed frustration with resistance in the legal profession to state-level efforts to innovate in the provision of legal services.

Martinez was particularly critical of the lack of access to civil justice in the United States. She cited the World Justice Project’s ranking of the U.S. in the bottom tier with respect to access to and affordability of civil justice. She said the U.S. is tied for 99th place out of 126 countries. Additionally, Martinez said research by the Legal Services Corp. found that low-income Americans received inadequate or no professional legal help for 86% of their civil legal problems, including child custody, debt collection, eviction and foreclosure. She did not spare the criminal justice system. In many states, Martinez says, “overwhelming caseloads and inadequate resources for public defenders severely hamper the Sixth Amendment right to counsel for indigent criminal defendants.

 

From DSC:
I congratulate Judy Perry Martinez for her stance here, as she’s ultimately fighting for our society — especially for access to justice. Though I don’t know Judy, I appreciate the courage that it must have taken to pen that letter.

 

From DSC:
My brother-in-law sent me the link to the video below. It’s a very solid interview about racism and what some solutions are to it. It offers some important lessons for us.

A heads up here: There’s some adult language in this piece — from the interviewer not the interviewee (i.e., you know…several of those swear words that I’ve been trying since second grade to get rid of in my vocabulary! Sorry to report that I’ve not enjoyed too much success in that area. Thanks for your patience LORD…the work/process continues).

While I have several pages worth of notes (because that’s just how I best process information and stay focused), I will just comment on a couple things:

* A 10 year old boy has rocks thrown at him by adults and kids and rightfully asks, “Why are they doing this to me when they don’t even *know* me?!”  That burning question lead to a decades-long search for Mr. Daryl Davis as he sought the answer to that excellent question.

* Years later Daryl surmised this phenomenon was/is at play: Unchecked ignorance –> leads to fear –> unchecked fear leads to hatred –> unchecked hatred leads to destruction. One of the best ways to stop this is via education and exposure to the truth — which we can get by being with and talking to/with each other. How true.  
One of the best things my parents ever did was to move us from a predominantly white neighborhood and school setting to a far more diverse setting. Prior to the move, we used to hear (and likely believed was true) that “There are all kinds of guns and knives at this junior high school and at this high school. Violence abounds there.” After moving and getting exposure to the people and learning environments at those schools, we realized that that fear was a lie…a lie born out of ignorance. The truth/reality was different from the lie/ignorance.
* Mr. Daryl Davis is an instrument of peace. He is:
  • Highly articulate
  • A multi-talented gentleman
  • A deep thinker
  • …and an eloquent communicator.

I thanked my brother-in-law for the link to the interview.


Also see:

Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience— from christianbook.com by Sheila Wise Rowe

Product Description
As a child, Sheila Wise Rowe was bused across town to a majority white school, where she experienced the racist lie that one group is superior to all others. This lie continues to be perpetuated today by the action or inaction of the government, media, viral videos, churches, and within families of origin. In contrast, Scripture declares that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made.

Rowe, a professional counselor, exposes the symptoms of racial trauma to lead readers to a place of freedom from the past and new life for the future. In each chapter, she includes an interview with a person of color to explore how we experience and resolve racial trauma. With Rowe as a reliable guide who has both been on the journey and shown others the way forward, you will find a safe pathway to resilience.

 

 

How to block Facebook and Google from identifying your face — from cnbc.com by Todd Haselton

Excerpt:

  • A New York Times report over the weekend discussed a company named Clearview AI that can easily recognize people’s faces when someone uploads a picture.
  • It scrapes this data from the internet and sites people commonly use, such as Facebook and YouTube, according to the report.
  • You can stop Facebook and Google from recognizing your face in their systems, which is one step toward regaining your privacy.
  • Still, it probably won’t entirely stop companies like Clearview AI from recognizing you, since they’re not using the systems developed by Google or Facebook.
 

From DSC:
As some of you may know, I’m now working for the WMU-Thomas M. Cooley Law School. My faith gets involved here, but I believe that the LORD wanted me to get involved with:

  • Using technology to increase access to justice (#A2J)
  • Contributing to leveraging the science of learning for the long-term benefit of our students, faculty, and staff
  • Raising awareness regarding the potential pros and cons of today’s emerging technologies
  • Increase the understanding that the legal realm has a looooong way to go to try to get (even somewhat) caught up with the impacts that such emerging technologies can/might have on us.
  • Contributing and collaborating with others to help develop a positive future, not a negative one.

Along these lines…in regards to what’s been happening with law schools over the last few years, I wanted to share a couple of things:

1) An article from The Chronicle of Higher Education by Benjamin Barton:

The Law School Crash

 

2) A response from our President and Dean, James McGrath:Repositioning a Law School for the New Normal

 

From DSC:
I also wanted to personally say that I arrived at WMU-Cooley Law School in 2018, and have been learning a lot there (which I love about my job!).  Cooley employees are very warm, welcoming, experienced, knowledgeable, and professional. Everyone there is mission-driven. My boss, Chris Church, is multi-talented and excellent. Cooley has a great administrative/management team as well.

There have been many exciting, new things happening there. But that said, it will take time before we see the results of these changes. Perseverance and innovation will be key ingredients to crafting a modern legal education — especially in an industry that is just now beginning to offer online-based courses at the Juris Doctor (J.D.) level (i.e., 20 years behind when this began occurring within undergraduate higher education).

My point in posting this is to say that we should ALL care about what’s happening within the legal realm!  We are all impacted by it, whether we realize it or not. We are all in this together and no one is an island — not as individuals, and not as organizations.

We need:

  • Far more diversity within the legal field
  • More technical expertise within the legal realm — not only with lawyers, but with legislators, senators, representatives, judges, others
  • Greater use of teams of specialists within the legal field
  • To offer more courses regarding emerging technologies — and not only for the legal practices themselves but also for society at large.
  • To be far more vigilant in crafting a positive world to be handed down to our kids and grandkids — a dream, not a nightmare. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

Still not convinced that you should care? Here are some things on the CURRENT landscapes:

  • You go to drop something off at your neighbor’s house. They have a camera that gets activated.  What facial recognition database are you now on? Did you give your consent to that? No, you didn’t.
  • Because you posted your photo on Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and/or on millions of other websites, your face could be in ClearView AI’s database. Did you give your consent to that occurring? No, you didn’t.
  • You’re at the airport and facial recognition is used instead of a passport. Whose database was that from and what gets shared? Did you give your consent to that occurring? Probably not, and it’s not easy to opt-out either.
  • Numerous types of drones, delivery bots, and more are already coming onto the scene. What will the sidewalks, streets, and skies look like — and sound like — in your neighborhood in the near future? Is that how you want it? Did you give your consent to that happening? No, you didn’t.
  • …and on and on it goes.

Addendum — speaking of islands!

Palantir CEO: Silicon Valley can’t be on ‘Palo Alto island’ — Big Tech must play by the rules — from cnbc.com by Jessica Bursztynsky

Excerpt:

Palantir Technologies co-founder and CEO Alex Karp said Thursday the core problem in Silicon Valley is the attitude among tech executives that they want to be separate from United States regulation.

“You cannot create an island called Palo Alto Island,” said Karp, who suggested tech leaders would rather govern themselves. “What Silicon Valley really wants is the canton of Palo Alto. We have the United States of America, not the ‘United States of Canton,’ one of which is Palo Alto. That must change.”

“Consumer tech companies, not Apple, but the other ones, have basically decided we’re living on an island and the island is so far removed from what’s called the United States in every way, culturally, linguistically and in normative ways,” Karp added.

 

Gartner: 10 ways technology will change what it means to be human — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpts:

Gartner’s top 10 strategic predictions for technology are:

  1. “By 2023, the number of people with disabilities employed will triple due to AI and emerging technologies, reducing barriers to access.”
  2. “By 2024, AI identification of emotions will influence more than half of the online advertisements you see.”
  3. “Through 2023, 30 percent of IT organizations will extend BYOD policies with ‘bring your own enhancement’ (BYOE) to address augmented humans in the workforce.”
  4. “By 2025, 50 percent of people with a smartphone but without a bank account will use a mobile-accessible cryptocurrency account.”
  5. “By 2023, a self-regulating association for oversight of AI and machine learning designers will be established in at least four of the G7 countries.”
  6. “By 2023, 40 percent of professional workers will orchestrate their business application experiences and capabilities like they do their music streaming experience.”
  7. “By 2023, up to 30 percent of world news and video content will be authenticated as real by blockchain countering deep fake technology.”
  8. “Through 2021, digital transformation initiatives will take large traditional enterprises on average twice as long and cost twice as much as anticipated.”
  9. “By 2023, individual activities will be tracked digitally by an ‘Internet of Behavior’ to influence benefit and service eligibility for 40 percent of people worldwide.”
  10. “By 2024, the World Health Organization will identify online shopping as an addictive disorder, as millions abuse digital commerce and encounter financial stress.”

Facial recognition, location tracking and big data will allow organizations to monitor individual behavior and link that behavior to other digital actions, Gartner said, noting that “The Internet of Things (IoT) – where physical things are directed to do a certain thing based on a set of observed operating parameters relative to a desired set of operating parameters — is now being extended to people, known as the Internet of Behavior (IoB).”

 

From DSC:
That last quote about the “Internet of Behavior (IoB)” should disturb us. I don’t want that kind of world for the next generation. 

 

From DSC:
I’ll say it again, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

From the article below…we can see another unintended consequence is developing on society’s landscapes. I really wish the 20 and 30 somethings that are being hired by the big tech companies — especially at Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft — who are developing these things would ask themselves:

  • “Just because we can develop this system/software/application/etc., SHOULD we be developing it?”
  • What might the negative consequences be? 
  • Do the positive contributions outweigh the negative impacts…or not?

To colleges professors and teachers:
Please pass these thoughts onto your students now, so that this internal questioning/conversations begin to take place in K-16.


Report: Colleges Must Teach ‘Algorithm Literacy’ to Help Students Navigate Internet — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

If the Ancient Mariner were sailing on the internet’s open seas, he might conclude there’s information everywhere, but nary a drop to drink.

That’s how many college students feel, anyway. A new report published this week about undergraduates’ impressions of internet algorithms reveals students are skeptical of and unnerved by tools that track their digital travels and serve them personalized content like advertisements and social media posts.

And some students feel like they’ve largely been left to navigate the internet’s murky waters alone, without adequate guidance from teachers and professors.

Researchers set out to learn “how aware students are about their information being manipulated, gathered and interacted with,” said Alison Head, founder and director of Project Information Literacy, in an interview with EdSurge. “Where does that awareness drop off?”

They found that many students not only have personal concerns about how algorithms compromise their own data privacy but also recognize the broader, possibly negative implications of tools that segment and customize search results and news feeds.

 

The Future of Lawyers: Legal Tech, AI, Big Data And Online Courts — from forbes.com by Bernard Marr

Excerpts:

In his brand new book Online Courts and the Future of Justice, Richard argues that technology is going to bring about a fascinating decade of change in the legal sector and transform our court system. Although automating our old ways of working plays a part in this, even more, critical is that artificial intelligence and technology will help give more individuals access to justice.

The first generation is the idea that people who use the court system submit evidence and arguments to the judge online or through some form of electronic communication.

The second generation of using technology to transform the legal system would be what Richard calls “outcome thinking” to use technology to help solve disputes without requiring lawyers or the traditional court system.

Some of the biggest obstacles to an online court system are the political will to bring about such a transformation, the support of judges and lawyers, funding, as well as the method we’d apply. For example, decisions will need to be made whether the online system would be used for only certain cases or situations.

Ultimately, we have a grave access-to-justice problem. Technology can help improve our outcomes and give people a way to resolve public disputes in ways that previously weren’t possible. While this transformation might not solve all the struggles with the legal system or the access-to-justice issue, it can offer a dramatic improvement.

 

FuturePod gathers voices from the international field of Futures and Foresight. Through a series of interviews, the founders of the field and emerging leaders share their stories, tools and experiences.

FuturePod gathers voices from the international field of Futures and Foresight. Through a series of podcast interviews, the founders of the field and emerging leaders share their stories, tools and experiences. The Futures and Foresight community comprises a remarkable and diverse group of individuals who span, academic, commercial and social interests.

 

19 striking findings from 2019 — from pewresearch.org by John Gramlich

Excerpt:

Every year, Pew Research Center publishes hundreds of reports, blog posts, digital essays and other studies on a wide range of topics, from the demographic and political changes that are reshaping the United States to the attitudes and experiences of people in dozens of other countries. At the end of each year, we compile a list of some of our most noteworthy findings. Here are 19 striking findings from our research this year…


A majority of Americans do not think it is possible to go about daily life without corporate and government entities collecting information about them. Americans widely believe at least some of their online and offline activities are being tracked and monitored by companies and the government. It is such a common condition of modern life, in fact, that roughly six-in-ten U.S. adults say they don’t think it is possible to go through daily life without having data collected about them by companies (62% say this) or the government (63%).

Read the other posts in our striking findings series:

 

Greta Thunberg is the youngest TIME Person of the Year ever. Here’s how she made history — from time.com

Excerpt:

The politics of climate action are as entrenched and complex as the phenomenon itself, and Thunberg has no magic solution. But she has succeeded in creating a global attitudinal shift, transforming millions of vague, middle-of-the-night anxieties into a worldwide movement calling for urgent change. She has offered a moral clarion call to those who are willing to act, and hurled shame on those who are not. She has persuaded leaders, from mayors to Presidents, to make commitments where they had previously fumbled: after she spoke to Parliament and demonstrated with the British environmental group Extinction Rebellion, the U.K. passed a law requiring that the country eliminate its carbon footprint. She has focused the world’s attention on environmental injustices that young indigenous activists have been protesting for years. Because of her, hundreds of thousands of teenage “Gretas,” from Lebanon to Liberia, have skipped school to lead their peers in climate strikes around the world.

 

Young people! You CAN and will make a big impact/difference!

 

Why AI is a threat to democracy – and what we can do to stop it — from asumetech.com by Lawrence Cole

Excerpts:

In the US, however, we also have a tragic lack of foresight. Instead of creating a grand strategy for AI or for our long-term futures, the federal government has removed the financing of scientific and technical research. The money must therefore come from the private sector. But investors also expect a certain return. That is a problem. You cannot plan your R&D breakthroughs when working on fundamental technology and research. It would be great if the big tech companies had the luxury of working very hard without having to organize an annual conference to show off their newest and best whiz bang thing. Instead, we now have countless examples of bad decisions made by someone in the G-MAFIA, probably because they worked quickly. We begin to see the negative effects of the tension between doing research that is in the interest of humanity and making investors happy.

The problem is that our technology has become increasingly sophisticated, but our thinking about what free speech is and what a free market economy looks like has not become that advanced. We tend to resort to very basic interpretations: free speech means that all speech is free, unless it conflicts with defamation laws, and that’s the end of the story. That is not the end of the story. We need to start a more sophisticated and intelligent conversation about our current laws, our emerging technology, and how we can make the two meet halfway.

 

So I absolutely believe that there is a way forward. But we have to come together and bridge the gap between Silicon Valley and DC, so that we can all steer the boat in the same direction.

— Amy Webb, futurist, NYU professor, founder of the Future Today Institute

 

Also see:

“FRONTLINE investigates the promise and perils of artificial intelligence, from fears about work and privacy to rivalry between the U.S. and China. The documentary traces a new industrial revolution that will reshape and disrupt our lives, our jobs and our world, and allow the emergence of the surveillance society.”

The film has five distinct messages about:

1. China’s AI Plan
2. The Promise of AI
3. The Future of Work
4. Surveillance Capitalism
5. The Surveillance State

 

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