Government


When Futurism Led to Fascism--and Why It Could Happen Again

WIRED

In 1909, a poet named Filippo Marinetti was driving along in his brand new Fiat when he came across two cyclists in the road. Marinetti swerved to avoid hitting his fellow travelers, sending his car into a ditch and completely destroying the vehicle. Here's how Marinetti described the encounter: The words were scarcely out of my mouth when I spun my car around with the frenzy of a dog trying to bite its tail, and there, suddenly, were two cyclists coming toward me, shaking their fists, wobbling like two equally convincing but nevertheless contradictory arguments. Their stupid dilemma was blocking my way--Damn! Ouch! ... I stopped short and to my disgust rolled over into a ditch with my wheels in the air … You can already tell from this account that Marinetti was a bit of an eccentric.


Opinion The Battle Over Artificial Intelligence

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Your reporting on the use of facial recognition in China for "minority identification" is a stark reminder that the battle over the future of artificial intelligence will not simply be about who gathers the top scientists or who is first to innovate. It will also be about who is able to preserve fundamental rights during a period of rapidly changing technology. The White House has already made some progress on this front, highlighting American values, including privacy and civil liberties, in an executive order earlier this year, and backing an important international framework at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But there is much more to be done. The United States must work with other democratic countries to establish red lines for certain A.I. applications and ensure fairness, accountability and transparency as A.I. systems are deployed.


AI and Robotics Are Transforming Disaster Relief

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During the past 50 years, the frequency of recorded natural disasters has surged nearly five-fold. In this blog, I'll be exploring how converging exponential technologies (AI, robotics, drones, sensors, networks) are transforming the future of disaster relief--how we can prevent them in the first place and get help to victims during that first golden hour wherein immediate relief can save lives. When it comes to immediate and high-precision emergency response, data is gold. Already, the meteoric rise of space-based networks, stratosphere-hovering balloons, and 5G telecommunications infrastructure is in the process of connecting every last individual on the planet. Aside from democratizing the world's information, however, this upsurge in connectivity will soon grant anyone the ability to broadcast detailed geo-tagged data, particularly those most vulnerable to natural disasters.


White House Taking its Artificial Intelligence Messaging International

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The White House is deliberately engaging with "like-minded international allies" to assist in the stewardship of artificial intelligence and help the world recognize its full potential, Assistant Director for AI in the Office of Science and Technology Policy Lynne Parker said Thursday. "There are a lot of conversations internationally right now on AI," Parker said at the National Academy of Public Administration's Forum on Artificial Intelligence, held in Washington. "And we are leading many of those conversations." Parker explained that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the G7 and G20 international forums and organizations within the United Nations are all addressing the appropriate use of AI at a global level, and America's top federal officials are actively involved in those efforts. For instance, she noted OECD is likely to publish recommendations on governments' use of AI in May.


Confused about climate change? Talk to our chat bot

BBC News

BBC News has launched a chat bot to help users learn about climate change in weekly conversations on Facebook Messenger. Subscribers will get an alert every Wednesday inviting them to explore topics from rising temperatures to new ways of tackling global warming. They can also ask questions which the bot will pass on for our human journalists to answer. You can sign up at the bottom of this page. We know that audiences are hungry for a better understanding of where the world stands on targets to control rising temperatures.


A firefighting robot named Colossus helped 400 firefighters battle a blaze at Notre Dame

Daily Mail

An 1,100-pound emergency robot helped to save a piece of human history during a blaze at Paris' Notre Dame cathedral that threatened to burn the historic monument to the ground. The formidable device, dubbed Colossus, a remote-controlled drone equipped with hoses and cameras, was able to roll its way into the cathedral to help fight the fire -- which burned through the structure's old wooden roof -- from within. Colossus, which is both fire-resistant, water-proof, and capable of carrying up to 1,200 pounds not only helped to stop the fire before it completely razed the structure, but reduced the need for fire fighters to enter the church where they would be in danger from falling debris. At the time, the cathedral was only 15 to 30 minutes away from being completely burned to the ground, reports say. Weighing in at 1,100 pounds, Colossus is a firefighting robot that can be controlled remotely.


Ethics Alone Can't Fix Big Tech

Slate

The New York Times has confirmed what some have long suspected: The Chinese government is using a "vast, secret system" of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to identify and track Uighurs--a Muslim minority, 1 million of whom are being held in detention camps in China's northwest Xinjiang province. This technology allows the government to extend its control of the Uighur population across the country. It may seem difficult to imagine a similar scenario in the U.S., but related technologies, built by Amazon, are already being used by U.S. law enforcement agencies to identify suspects in photos and video. And echoes of China's system can be heard in plans to deploy these technologies at the U.S.-Mexico border. A.I. systems also decide what information is presented to you on social media, which ads you see, and what prices you're offered for goods and services.


Pete and Chasten Buttigieg's em Other /em Potential First: a White House App Marriage

Slate

It's common knowledge that Barack Obama met the woman who eventually became his wife, Michelle Robinson, when he came to work at her law firm as a summer associate. George W. Bush met the future Mrs. Bush, who was Laura Welch back then, at a barbecue and took her mini-golfing the next day. And we all remember that Bill and Hillary Clinton were law school sweethearts. The historical record is full of these president-and-first-lady origin stories: Harry Truman was just 6 when he met the woman he would go on to marry, in church. So it's only natural to ask how the current crop of presidential candidates' how-they-met stories stack up.


European Commission's Ethics Guidelines on Artificial Intelligence Lexology

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"Artificial intelligence" can be defined as the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intervention. Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used in new products and services across numerous industries and for a variety of policy-related purposes, raising questions about the resulting legal implications, including its effect on individual privacy. Aspects of AI related to privacy concerns are the ability of systems to make decisions and to learn by adjusting their code in response to inputs received over time, using large volumes of data. Following the European Commission's declaration on AI in April 2018, its High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI HLEG) published Draft Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI in December 2018. A consultation process regarding this working document concluded on February 1, 2019, and a revised draft of the document based on the comments that were received is expected to be delivered to the European Commission in April 2019.


The problem with AI? Study says it's too white and male, calls for more women, minorities

USATODAY

The ACLU and other groups urged Amazon to halt selling facial recognition technology to law enforcement departments. Lending tools charge higher interest rates to Hispanics and African Americans. Job hunting tools favor men. Negative emotions are more likely to be assigned to black men's faces than white men. Computer vision systems for self-driving cars have a harder time spotting pedestrians with darker skin tones.