NLADA Welcomes DOJ’s Advice to Chief Justices to Ensure Fair Process to Keep Families in Their Homes — from nlada.org

Excerpts:

NLADA welcomes the Associate Attorney General’s letter urging Chief Justices and State Court Administrators to consider eviction diversion strategies that can help families avoid the disruption and damage that evictions cause. Together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to extend the eviction moratorium and the additional steps announced by the White House, this letter is an important tool in a package of federal resources to help our country and courts navigate this crisis.

The housing crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic, disproportionally affects women and communities of color. More than 80 percent of people facing eviction are Black. We know that when families have access to counsel provided by civil legal aid attorneys, approximately 80 percent of families stay in their homes, and that rates of homelessness have had a direct correlation to coronavirus rates. These numbers represent men, women and children who are integral to communities across the country, and we are pleased by today’s actions to help families and communities struggling in our nation.

 

 

 

AI cannot be recognised as an inventor, US rules — from bbc.com

An artificial intelligence system has been refused the right to two patents in the US, after a ruling only “natural persons” could be inventors.

 

Watch a Drone Swarm Fly Through a Fake Forest Without Crashing — from wired.com by Max Levy
Each copter doesn’t just track where the others are. It constantly predicts where they’ll go.

From DSC:
I’m not too crazy about this drone swarm…in fact, the more I thought about it, I find it quite alarming and nerve-racking. It doesn’t take much imagination to think what the militaries of the world are already doing with this kind of thing. And our son is now in the Marines. So forgive me if I’m a bit biased here…but I can’t help but wondering what the role/impact of foot soldiers will be in the next war? I hope we don’t have one. 

Anway, just because we can…

 

The Future of Social Media: Re-Humanisation and Regulation — by Gerd Leonhard

How could social media become ‘human’ again? How can we stop the disinformation, dehumanisation and dataism that has resulted from social media’s algorithmic obsessions? I foresee that the EXTERNALTIES i.e. the consequences of unmitigated growth of exponential digital technologies will become just as big as the consequences of climate change. In fact, today, the social media industry already has quite a few parallels to the oil, gas and coal business: while private make huge profits from extracting the ‘oil’ (i.e. user data), the external damage is left to society and governments to fix. This needs to change! In this keynote I make some precise suggestions as to how that could happen.

Some snapshots/excerpts:

The future of social media -- a video by Gerd Leonhard in the summer of 2021

 

 

 

 


From DSC:
Gerd brings up some solid points here. His presentation and perspectives are not only worth checking out, but they’re worth some time for us to seriously reflect on what he’s saying.

What kind of future do we want?

And for you professors, teachers, instructional designers, trainers, and presenters out there, check out *how* he delivers the content. It’s well done and very engaging.


 

From DSC:
Again, as you can see from the items below…there are various plusses and minuses regarding the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Some of the items below are neither positive or negative, but I found them interesting nonetheless.


How Amazon is tackling the A.I. talent crunch — from fortune.com by Jonathan Vanian

Excerpt:

“One way Amazon has adapted to the tight labor market is to require potential new programming hires to take classes in machine learning, said Bratin Saha, a vice president and general manager of machine learning services at Amazon. The company’s executives believe they can teach these developers machine learning basics over a few weeks so that they can work on more cutting-edge projects after they’re hired.”

“These are not formal college courses, and Saha said the recruits aren’t graded like they would be in school. Instead, the courses are intended to give new developers a foundation in machine learning and statistics so they can understand the theoretical underpinnings.”

Machine Learning Can Predict Rapid Kidney Function Decline — from sicklecellanemianews.com by Steve Bryson PhD; with thanks to Sam DeBrule for this resource

Excerpt:

Machine learning tools can identify sickle cell disease (SCD) patients at high risk of progressive kidney disease as early as six months in advance, a study shows.  The study, “Using machine learning to predict rapid decline of kidney function in sickle cell anemia,” was published in the journal eJHaem.

NYPD’s Sprawling Facial Recognition System Now Has More Than 15,000 Cameras — from vice.com by Todd Feathers; with thanks to Sam DeBrule for this resource
The massive camera network is concentrated in predominantly Black and brown neighborhoods, according to a new crowdsourced report.

Excerpt:

The New York City Police Department has built a sprawling facial recognition network that may include more than 15,000 surveillance cameras in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, according to a massive crowdsourced investigation by Amnesty International.

“This sprawling network of cameras can be used by police for invasive facial recognition and risk turning New York into an Orwellian surveillance city,” Matt Mahmoudi, an artificial intelligence and human rights researcher at Amnesty, wrote in the group’s report. “You are never anonymous. Whether you’re attending a protest, walking to a particular neighbourhood, or even just grocery shopping—your face can be tracked by facial recognition technology using imagery from thousands of camera points across New York.”

Related to that article is this one:

The All-Seeing Eyes of New York’s 15,000 Surveillance Cameras — from wired.com by Sidney Fussell
Video from the cameras is often used in facial-recognition searches. A report finds they are most common in neighborhoods with large nonwhite populations.

Excerpt:

A NEW VIDEO from human rights organization Amnesty International maps the locations of more than 15,000 cameras used by the New York Police Department, both for routine surveillance and in facial-recognition searches. A 3D model shows the 200-meter range of a camera, part of a sweeping dragnet capturing the unwitting movements of nearly half of the city’s residents, putting them at risk for misidentification. The group says it is the first to map the locations of that many cameras in the city.

Don’t End Up on This Artificial Intelligence Hall of Shame — from wired.com by Tom Simonite
A list of incidents that caused, or nearly caused, harm aims to prompt developers to think more carefully about the tech they create.

Excerpt:

The AI Incident Database is hosted by Partnership on AI, a nonprofit founded by large tech companies to research the downsides of the technology. The roll of dishonor was started by Sean McGregor, who works as a machine learning engineer at voice processor startup Syntiant. He says it’s needed because AI allows machines to intervene more directly in people’s lives, but the culture of software engineering does not encourage safety.

 

June 2021: Rethinking Lawyer Regulation — by Jim Sandman

Excerpts:

The National Center for State Courts estimates that in 76 percent of civil cases in state courts, at least one party is unrepresented. That figure does not include family law cases. If it did, the percentage would be even higher. It is common for more than 90 percent of tenants facing eviction in the United States to be without counsel, even though more than 90 percent of landlords have lawyers. It is common for more than 80 percent of domestic violence victims seeking protection orders to be without counsel.

The model on which our adversary system of justice is based – with each party represented by counsel who present evidence and arguments on behalf of their clients – is a fiction in the majority of civil cases in the United States today. Unrepresented litigants fend for themselves in tens of millions of cases every year involving the most basic of human needs: shelter (evictions and foreclosures), family stability (child custody child support, adoptions, and guardianships), personal safety (protection orders against abusers), and economic subsistence (access to unemployment insurance, health care, food, and other benefits programs). The lack of access to counsel affects not just low-income people, but the middle class and small businesses, too.

Our nation is defaulting on its foundational promise of justice for all. We need solutions commensurate with the magnitude and the urgency of the problem, and those solutions must include regulatory reform.

 

Ed Department Sets Expectations For Special Education As Schools Reopen — from disabilityscoop.com by Michelle Diament

Excerpt:

With schools across the nation increasingly eyeing a return to normalcy, federal education officials are further clarifying what that should mean for students with disabilities.

In a 23-page question-and-answer document, the U.S. Department of Education is laying out how the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and other civil rights laws apply as schools return to in-person learning.

The guidance addresses schools’ responsibilities to students with disabilities in remote, hybrid and in-person situations, touching on everything from the right to a free appropriate public education to handling children who are unable to wear masks or maintain social distance.

 

A lack of devices but a heroic effort by teachers — from global-edtech.com by Dorothy Lepkowska
EDUCATE webinar hears how countries coped with the Covid school shutdown

Excerpts:

As in many countries, including the UK, schools and students in Portugal were hindered by a lack of devices, Huge Fonseca, an EdTech innovator, told the webinar.  He said teachers were “superheroes” and did what they could to connect with pupils, including distributing work on bicycles.

He said: “In Portugal there is a lack of devices and a lack of teacher training. The profession is among the oldest in Europe, and half of teachers are more than 50 years old. There is no government support to develop them, and if you leave teachers without learning new skills for 20 years or more then it is hard for them to adapt. We need more young people to go into teaching.”

In Uruguay, more coherence was needed between the distribution of technology and teacher training.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, there was a roll-out of technology but little training for teachers.

In Zambia, however, the pandemic offered an opportunity for project-based learning to address some of the problems faced by communities.

She said the pandemic had shone a light on the heroic work of teachers and there was a “shift in perceptions about teachers, and the importance of face-to-face teaching as a valued part of civil society”.

Also see:

 

A reasonable robot in the eyes of the law — from innovationaus.com by Stuart Corner

Excerpts:

“But what happens when an autonomous vehicle kills someone? A robot is not subject to the law. So is the car manufacturer liable, or the developer of the software? And how do you pinpoint the cause of such an accident?”

You can’t tax a robot worker
“If my employer, the University of Surrey could get a robot to automate my job, which they will someday, they would save money doing that, even if we were both equally good, because they have to make National Insurance contributions [a UK earnings tax that funds state pensions and other benefits] for my work and a host of other reasons, but the machine is taxed more favourably.

 

All Eyes on Utah: Launching the ‘First Nonlawyer-Owned’ Law Firm — from law.com by Alaina Lancaster
Daniel Wilde, an attorney for Law On Call, which claims to be the first nonlawyer-owned law firm in the nation, says the entire country can benefit from the innovative business models coming out of Utah.

Excerpt:

[The week of April 5], a registered agent service provider announced that it launched the first nonlawyer-owned law firm in the United States.

The move comes after the Utah Supreme Court approved a pilot program that would allow nonlawyers to provide certain legal services—a proposition that’s been kicked around in California, Arizona, Illinois and the District of Columbia. Under Northwest Registered Agent’s Law On Call model, clients can pay a $9 monthly subscription, where they can ring up lawyers directly. They can also hire Law on Call’s attorneys for legal work at discounted rates.

 

This is an abstract picture of a person's head made of connections peering sideways -- it links to Artificial intelligence and the future of national security from ASU

Artificial intelligence and the future of national security — from news.asu.edu

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence is a “world-altering” technology that represents “the most powerful tools in generations for expanding knowledge, increasing prosperity and enriching the human experience” and will be a source of enormous power for the companies and countries that harness them, according to the recently released Final Report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.

This is not hyperbole or a fantastical version of AI’s potential impact. This is the assessment of a group of leading technologists and national security professionals charged with offering recommendations to Congress on how to ensure American leadership in AI for national security and defense. Concerningly, the group concluded that the U.S. is not currently prepared to defend American interests or compete in the era of AI.

Also see:

EU Set to Ban Surveillance, Start Fines Under New AI Rules — from bloomberg.com by Natalia Drozdiak

Excerpt:

The European Union is poised to ban artificial intelligence systems used for mass surveillance or for ranking social behavior, while companies developing AI could face fines as high as 4% of global revenue if they fail to comply with new rules governing the software applications.

Also see:

Wrongfully arrested man sues Detroit police over false facial recognition match — from washingtonpost.com by Drew Harwell
The case could fuel criticism of police investigators’ use of a controversial technology that has been shown to perform worse on people of color

Excerpts:

A Michigan man has sued Detroit police after he was wrongfully arrested and falsely identified as a shoplifting suspect by the department’s facial recognition software in one of the first lawsuits of its kind to call into question the controversial technology’s risk of throwing innocent people in jail.

Robert Williams, a 43-year-old father in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills, was arrested last year on charges he’d taken watches from a Shinola store after police investigators used a facial recognition search of the store’s surveillance-camera footage that identified him as the thief.

Prosecutors dropped the case less than two weeks later, arguing that officers had relied on insufficient evidence. Police Chief James Craig later apologized for what he called “shoddy” investigative work. Williams, who said he had been driving home from work when the 2018 theft had occurred, was interrogated by detectives and held in custody for 30 hours before his release.

Williams’s attorneys did not make him available for comment Tuesday. But Williams wrote in The Washington Post last year that the episode had left him deeply shaken, in part because his young daughters had watched him get handcuffed in his driveway and put into a police car after returning home from work.

“How does one explain to two little girls that a computer got it wrong, but the police listened to it anyway?” he wrote. “As any other black man would be, I had to consider what could happen if I asked too many questions or displayed my anger openly — even though I knew I had done nothing wrong.”

Addendum on 4/20/21:

 

Improving Digital Inclusion & Accessibility for Those With Learning Disabilities — from inclusionhub.com by Meredith Kreisa
Learning disabilities must be taken into account during the digital design process to ensure digital inclusion and accessibility for the community. This comprehensive guide outlines common learning disabilities, associated difficulties, accessibility barriers and best practices, and more.

“Learning shouldn’t be something only those without disabilities get to do,” explains Seren Davies, a full stack software engineer and accessibility advocate who is dyslexic. “It should be for everyone. By thinking about digital accessibility, we are making sure that everyone who wants to learn can.”

“Learning disability” is a broad term used to describe several specific diagnoses. Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, nonverbal learning disorder, and oral/written language disorder and specific reading comprehension deficit are among the most prevalent.

An image of a barrier being torn down -- revealing a human mind behind it. This signifies the need to tear down any existing barriers that might hinder someone's learning experience.

 

The metaverse: real world laws give rise to virtual world problems — from cityam.com by Gregor Pryor

Legal questions
Like many technological advances, from the birth of the internet to more modern-day phenomena such as the use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI), the metaverse will in some way challenge the legal status quo.

Whilst the growth and adoption of the metaverse will raise age-old legal questions, it will also generate a number of unique legal and regulatory obstacles that need to be overcome.

From DSC:
I’m posting this because this is another example of why we have to pick up the pace within the legal realm. Organizations like the American Bar Association (ABA) are going to have to pick up the pace big time. Society has been being impacted by a variety of emerging technologies such as these. And such changes are far from being over. Law schools need to assess their roles and responsibilities in this new world as well.

Addendum on 3/29/21:
Below are some more examples from Jason Tashea’s “The Justice Tech Download” e-newsletter:

  • Florida prisons buy up location data from data brokers. (Techdirt) A prison mail surveillance company keeps tabs on those on the outside, too. (VICE)
  • Police reform requires regulating surveillance tech. (Patch) (h/t Rebecca Williams) A police camera that never tires stirs unease at the US First Circuit Court of Appeals. (Courthouse News)
  • A Florida sheriff’s office was sued for using its predictive policing program to harass residents. (Techdirt)
  • A map of e-carceration in the US. (Media Justice) (h/t Upturn)
  • This is what happens when ICE asks Google for your user information. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Data shows the NYPD seized 55,000 phones in 2020, and it returned less than 35,000 of them. (Techdirt)
  • The SAFE TECH Act will make the internet less safe for sex workers. (OneZero)
  • A New York lawmaker wants to ban the use of armed robots by police. (Wired)
  • A look at the first wave of government accountability of algorithms. (AI Now Institute) The algorithmic auditing trap. (OneZero)
  • The (im)possibility of fairness: Different value systems require different mechanisms for fair decision making. (Association for Computing Machinery)
  • A new open dataset has 510 commercial legal contracts with 13,000+ labels. (Atticus Project)
  • JusticeText co-founder shares her experience building tech for public defenders. (Law360)

 

 

A New York Lawmaker Wants to Ban Police Use of Armed Robots — from wired.com by Sidney Fussell
Officers’ use of Boston Robotics’ Digidog intensifies concerns about militarization of the police.

A robot dog is pictured here.

Excerpt:

NEW YORK CITY councilmember Ben Kallos says he “watched in horror” last month when city police responded to a hostage situation in the Bronx using Boston Dynamics’ Digidog, a remotely operated robotic dog equipped with surveillance cameras. Pictures of the Digidog went viral on Twitter, in part due to their uncanny resemblance with world-ending machines in the Netflix sci-fi series Black Mirror.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian