News — At The Edge — 11/3

Since we seem unable or unwilling to fix an obvious problem — kids & guns — the prospects for fixing less obvious problems — AI cold war, data industrial complex, infectious diseases — are probably nil.


Guns send over 8,000 US kids to ER each year —

“[Study] found that more than one-third of the wounded children were hospitalized and 6 percent died…[but] doesn’t include kids killed or injured by gunshots who never made it to the hospital, nor…costs for gunshot patients after they’re sent home….

Almost half the gun injuries were from assaults, nearly 40 percent were unintentional and 2 percent were suicides….

[So] gun violence involving kids extends beyond mass shootings that gain the most attention…[and] affects their ability to feel safe and comfortable at home or in school…[and] enormous ripple effect on child development

The AI Cold War That Could Doom Us All —

“[2017] China unveiled its Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan…to become the global leader in AI by 2030…[and] committed itself to building a $150 billion AI industry….

[A]n article in The Atlantic by Henry Kissinger…warned that AI was moving so quickly it could soon subvert human intelligence and creativity…[and] talk of a ‘new cold war arms race’ over artificial intelligence….

AI in China appears to be…powerful enabler of authoritarian rule…[while] liberal democracies in the world has been in steady decline for a decade….

[I]n China and the West alike, power comes from controlling data, making sense of it, and using it to influence how people behave. That power will only grow… as we move into the era of AI….

[As Putin said] ‘The one who becomes the leader in this sphere will be the ruler of the world’….

A country that strategically and smartly implements AI technologies throughout its workforce will likely grow faster….Its cities will run more efficiently…[and] people will live longer…. China has two fundamental advantages over the US….

  1. the Saudi Arabia of data…[that] the government can access…[for] public or national security without the same legal constraints a democracy would face….
  2. the relationship between its largest companies and the state [is close]….

[I]t was never inevitable that the digital revolution would…favor democracy…[or] global authoritarianism….

A new cold war [that]…isolates the Chinese and American tech sectors from each other would starve the US of…Chinese market for their profits and for engineering and software talent…[and] increase the risk that one side could surprise the other with a decisive strategic breakthrough in AI or quantum computing….

For US security hawks, the prospect that China might dominate both 5G and AI is a nightmare scenario…[and] made Xi even more determined to wean his country off Western technology….

The world’s nations can commit to American technology…[or] commit to China…[and] seem uncomfortably close to the arms and security pacts that defined the Cold War….

[China’s] own Marshall Plan…builds surveillance states…[while] the West grapples with stagnant wage growth and declining trust in core institutions….

[So] mutual suspicion, and…conviction that AI and other advanced technologies are a winner-take-all game are pushing…[toward] permanent cleavage…[and] give techno-authoritarianism more room to grow.”

Apple’s Tim Cook makes blistering attack on the ‘data industrial complex’ —

“Our own information…scraps of data, each one harmless…on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold…[as] an enduring digital profile…that serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into harm.

We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance….If we get this wrong, the dangers are profound….

’[Need] full support of a comprehensive, federal privacy law’…to prioritize four things:

  1. data minimization — ‘the right to have personal data minimized….
  2. transparency‘the right to… always know what data is being collected and what it is being collected for….
  3. the right to access’data belongs to users’, and it should be made easy for users to get a copy of, correct and delete their personal data.
  4. the right to security[as] foundational to trust and all other privacy rights….’We need to ask whether our moral compass been suspended in the drive for scale and innovation.’”

The Harm That Data Do

“We have entered an ‘age of data-fication’ as businesses and governments around the world…link up their data sets, and make greater use of algorithms and artificial intelligence to gain unprecedented insights and make faster and purportedly more efficient decisions….

[It] mean that we become infinitely knowable…[but] little ability to interrogate and challenge how our data are being used….

[Now] a Data Harm Record, a running log of problems with automated and algorithmic systems [globally]…to understand the diverse ways…such systems are going wrong, how citizen’s groups are dealing with…problems, and how agencies and legal systems are responding to their challenges….

[Often] designers and the administrators…fail to appreciate the limitations of the systems they are introducing…[and] unaware of bureaucratic or infrastructural complexities that can cause problems on the ground….

When algorithms replace human discretion…[and] eliminate corrective feedback from those affected…[they’re] compounding the problem….In unequal societies, they serve to further embed social and historical discrimination…[and] relying on legal systems alone is usually not enough….

It is difficult for individuals…to interrogate the systems alone or to seek redress when they are harmed….[A] broader public discussion is needed about the transparency, accountability and oversight of data systems required for protecting citizens’ rights….

Surely maps of where and how governments are introducing data systems and sharing people’s data should…be provided as a matter of democratic accountability….[Data] systems will always be error-prone [and] human feedback [essential]….

A fundamental rethink of governance is in order.”

A new device can identify air travelers carrying an infectious disease —

“[A] pandemic pathogen could spread around the world in days…[yet] precautions typically employed at airports…are rudimentary…[and] those infected might not show symptoms…[or] be unaware that they are ill….

Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) is used to sniff swabs taken from baggage…and personal items in searches for…drugs or explosives…[and] could quickly determine from a sample of breath if someone had an illness such as tuberculosis or diphtheria…using a second technique called gas chromatography, to separate compounds so they are more easily analyzed….

[It’s] essentially a large breathalyzer that has one-use disposable mouthpieces.

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Doc Huston

Consultant & Speaker on future nexus of technology-economics-politics, PhD Nested System Evolution, MA Alternative Futures, Patent Holder —

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Doc Huston

Doc Huston

Consultant & Speaker on future nexus of technology-economics-politics, PhD Nested System Evolution, MA Alternative Futures, Patent Holder —

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