Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system — from fastcompany.com by Mike Elgan
In China, scoring citizens’ behavior is official government policy. U.S. companies are increasingly doing something similar, outside the law.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Have you heard about China’s social credit system? It’s a technology-enabled, surveillance-based nationwide program designed to nudge citizens toward better behavior. The ultimate goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” according to the Chinese government.

In place since 2014, the social credit system is a work in progress that could evolve by next year into a single, nationwide point system for all Chinese citizens, akin to a financial credit score. It aims to punish for transgressions that can include membership in or support for the Falun Gong or Tibetan Buddhism, failure to pay debts, excessive video gaming, criticizing the government, late payments, failing to sweep the sidewalk in front of your store or house, smoking or playing loud music on trains, jaywalking, and other actions deemed illegal or unacceptable by the Chinese government.

IT CAN HAPPEN HERE
Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.

Here are some of the elements of America’s growing social credit system.

 

If current trends hold, it’s possible that in the future a majority of misdemeanors and even some felonies will be punished not by Washington, D.C., but by Silicon Valley. It’s a slippery slope away from democracy and toward corporatocracy.

 

From DSC:
Who’s to say what gains a citizen points and what subtracts from their score? If one believes a certain thing, is that a plus or a minus? And what might be tied to someone’s score? The ability to obtain food? Medicine/healthcare? Clothing? Social Security payments? Other?

We are giving a huge amount of power to a handful of corporations…trust comes into play…at least for me. Even internally, the big tech co’s seem to be struggling as to the ethical ramifications of what they’re working on (in a variety of areas). 

Is the stage being set for a “Person of Interest” Version 2.0?

 

Mark 2:1-12 (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

 

From DSC:
“…what they were thinking in their hearts” Wow….that wording hasn’t caught my attention the way it just did this morning. It doesn’t refer to thinking as I/we tend to view it — i.e., with our minds — but rather, thinking in our hearts. Hmmm….

 

 

International Legal Tech Conference Breaks Attendance Record — from biglawbusiness.com by Sam Skolnik

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Law firms are cashing in on blockchain through the growth of practice groups that represent blockchain developers and users. Attorneys are also are considering growing their use of “smart contracts,” which are blockchain based.

In addition to seeking continued growth in its membership and conferences, ILTA in the coming year will be focusing on diversity and inclusion within the legal tech sector, said Rush.

Legal tech investments have skyrocketed from $233 million two years ago to $1.7 billion in 2018, according to figures from the Legal Tech Sector Landscape Report by Tracxn Technologies.

 

Amazon, Microsoft, ‘putting world at risk of killer AI’: study — from news.yahoo.com by Issam Ahmed

Excerpt:

Washington (AFP) – Amazon, Microsoft and Intel are among leading tech companies putting the world at risk through killer robot development, according to a report that surveyed major players from the sector about their stance on lethal autonomous weapons.

Dutch NGO Pax ranked 50 companies by three criteria: whether they were developing technology that could be relevant to deadly AI, whether they were working on related military projects, and if they had committed to abstaining from contributing in the future.

“Why are companies like Microsoft and Amazon not denying that they’re currently developing these highly controversial weapons, which could decide to kill people without direct human involvement?” said Frank Slijper, lead author of the report published this week.

Addendum on 8/23/19:

 

Autonomous robot deliveries are coming to 100 university campuses in the U.S. — from digitaltrends.com by Luke Dormehl

Excerpt:

Pioneering autonomous delivery robot company Starship Technologies is coming to a whole lot more university campuses around the U.S. The robotics startup announced that it will expand its delivery services to 100 university campuses in the next 24 months, building on its successful fleets at George Mason University and Northern Arizona University.

 

Postmates Gets Go-Ahead to Test Delivery Robot in San Francisco — from interestingengineering.com by Donna Fuscaldo
Postmates was granted permission to test a delivery robot in San Francisco.

 

And add those to ones formerly posted on Learning Ecosystems:

 

From DSC:
I’m grateful for John Muir and for the presidents of the United States who had the vision to set aside land for the national park system. Such parks are precious and provide much needed respite from the hectic pace of everyday life.

Closer to home, I’m grateful for what my parents’ vision was for a place to help bring the families together through the years. A place that’s peaceful, quiet, surrounded by nature and community.

So I wonder what kind of legacy the current generations are beginning to create? That is…do we really want to be known as the generations who created the unchecked chaotic armies of delivery drones, delivery robots, driverless pods, etc. to fill the skies, streets, sidewalks, and more? 

I don’t. That’s not a gift to our kids or grandkids…not at all.

 

 

Gartner: Top Wireless Tech Trends to Watch — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpts:

The research firm identified 10 key wireless trends worth watching as the technology continues to develop over the next five years:

  • Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) wireless. This is the technology that will allow conventional cars, self-driving cars and the road infrastructure to all share information and status data.
  • Wireless sensing. This involves using the absorption and reflection of wireless signals as sensor data for radar tracking purposes. As an example, Gartner pointed to wireless sensing as an indoor radar system for robots and drones.
 

Philippians 2:5-11 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

 

 

Some interesting feedback re: the Bar Exam

Introduction

The National Conference of Bar Examiners’ (NCBE’s) Testing Task Force (TTF) is undertaking a comprehensive,future-focused study to ensure that the bar examination continues to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for competent entry-level legal practice in a changing legal profession. The collaborative study involves input from stakeholders at multiple phases and considers the content, format, timing, and delivery method for NCBE’s current tests, which make up all or part of the bar examination in most U.S. jurisdictions: the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). The study also includes the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), which is administered by NCBE and required for admission in most U.S. jurisdictions.

This Executive Summary provides a synthesis of the stakeholder listening sessions conducted during Phase 1 of the study between November 2018 and June 2019. The purpose of these sessions was to solicit input from various stakeholder groups about characteristics and considerations for the next generation of the bar examination. The sessions were facilitated by ACS Ventures LLC (ACS), an independent psychometric consulting firm. Summaries of the stakeholder input from the sessions are appended to this Executive Summary.

 

From DSC:
Hmmm…I wonder what some design thinking experts might say about the complexities involved here:

  • The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)
  • The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE)
  • The Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
  • The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)

 

 

Average Student Loan Debt Statistics by School by State 2019 — from lendedu.com

Excerpt:

For the fourth consecutive year, LendEDU is pleased to once again publish our annual Student Loan Debt by School by State Report, an in-depth analysis of student loan debt figures at nearly 1,000 four-year private and public higher education institutions across the United States.

While the figures change each year, the narrative certainly does not; student loan debt continues to be a growing issue in the U.S. and at nearly all schools in the country as the cost of college continues to rise.

Nationally, outstanding student loan debt sits at $1.52 trillion, making it the second largest form of consumer debt trailing only mortgages.

On an individual scale, the average borrower from the Class of 2018 received their diploma and left campus with $28,565 in student loan debt, up from $28,288 that was owed by the average Class of 2017 borrower.

Because of these eye-popping numbers that have now elevated the issue of student loan debt to the national scale as evident by the recent 2020 Democratic debates, LendEDU places tremendous value on the annual Student Loan Debt by School by State Report.

 

AI is in danger of becoming too male — new research — from singularityhub.com by Juan Mateos-Garcia and Joysy John

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

But current AI systems are far from perfect. They tend to reflect the biases of the data used to train them and to break down when they face unexpected situations.

So do we really want to turn these bias-prone, brittle technologies into the foundation stones of tomorrow’s economy?

One way to minimize AI risks is to increase the diversity of the teams involved in their development. As research on collective decision-making and creativity suggests, groups that are more cognitively diverse tend to make better decisions. Unfortunately, this is a far cry from the situation in the community currently developing AI systems. And a lack of gender diversity is one important (although not the only) dimension of this.

A review published by the AI Now Institute earlier this year showed that less than 20 percent of the researchers applying to prestigious AI conferences are women, and that only a quarter of undergraduates studying AI at Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley are female.

 


From DSC:
My niece just left a very lucrative programming job and managerial role at Microsoft after working there for several years. As a single woman, she got tired of fighting the culture there. 

It was again a reminder to me that there are significant ramifications to the cultures of the big tech companies…especially given the power of these emerging technologies and the growing influence they are having on our culture.


Addendum on 8/20/19:

  • Google’s Hate Speech Detection A.I. Has a Racial Bias Problem — from fortunes.com by Jonathan Vanian
    Excerpt:
    A Google-created tool that uses artificial intelligence to police hate speech in online comments on sites like the New York Times has become racially biased, according to a new study. The tool, developed by Google and a subsidiary of its parent company, often classified comments written in the African-American vernacular as toxic, researchers from the University of Washington, Carnegie Mellon, and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence said in a paper presented in early August at the Association for Computational Linguistics conference in Florence, Italy.
    .
  • On the positive side of things:
    Number of Female Students, Students of Color Tackling Computer Science AP on the Rise — from thejournal.com
 

From DSC:
After reviewing the item below — and after trying to limit the screen time of our youngest daughter these days — I am again reflecting on how difficult it is to raise kids today. I’m not going to get on the technology bashing train, but I’m just going to say that — at least in this area of life — my parents had it much easier!  🙂  It’s not easy to cut off the kids’ access to the Internet these days…as the article below illustrates!

Teen goes viral for tweeting from LG smart fridge after mom confiscates all electronics — from cbsnews.com by Caitlin O’Kane

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Dorothy said she was boiling rice one night and was too preoccupied by her phone, so the stove burst into flames. “So my mom took all my tech so i’d pay more attention to my surroundings,” she said.

Then she explained that both the DS and Wii allow image share, so she could send images from those devices to Twitter, adding messages.

Sometime after finding her DS, it was taken again, so Dorothy started tweeting from yet another connected device: her fridge. “My mom uses it to google recipes for baking so I just googled Twitter,” she told CBS News.

 

ABA Profile of the Legal Profession — from americanbar.org

Excerpt:

The state of the legal profession changes every year. Fortunately, the ABA has access to data that makes it possible to capture a snapshot of the profession at a moment in time and presents its first ABA Profile of the Legal Profession report.

View and download the report here.

 

New Michigan court program could let you resolve legal disputes for free online — from freep.com by Emma Keith

Excerpts:

If you’ve got an issue with your landlord, a friend who owes you money or a serious problem with your neighbors, you may not have to take it to court.

Thanks to a new tool from the Michigan court system, some Michiganders can now solve civil disputes and small claims cases online.

MI Resolve offers users in certain Michigan counties a chance to go through an online resolution and mediation process whether or not their case has gotten to court.

The program is meant to increase equitable access to legal resources and respond to Michigan residents’ goals for their state courts, said Bridget McCormack, chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.

The program is meant to resolve small claims, contract disputes, neighborhood disputes, and small landlord/tenant matters. It won’t handle an eviction but will handle rent or maintenance issues.

 

Also see:

 

Mark 1:1-4 New International Version (NIV)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah,[a] the Son of God,[b]as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way”[c]
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”[d]

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

 

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

© 2019 | Daniel Christian