The challenges of making the technology industry a more welcoming place for women are numerous, especially in the booming field of artificial intelligence. To get a sense of just how monumental a task the tech community faces, look no further than the marquee gathering for AI's top scientists. Preparations for this year's event drew controversy not only because there weren't enough female speakers or study authors. The biggest debate was over the conference's name. The annual Conference and Workshop on Neural Information Processing Systems, formerly known as NIPS, had become a punchline symbol about just how bad the gender imbalance is for artificial intelligence.
China now has seminars to teach other countries how to censor free speech as its'techno-dystopia' spreads, a worrying report has found. Governments worldwide are stepping up use of online tools to suppress dissent and tighten their grip on power, a human rights watchdog study found. Chinese officials have held sessions on controlling information with 36 of the 65 countries assessed, and provided telecom and surveillance equipment to a number of foreign governments, researchers said. India led the world in the number of internet shutdowns, with over 100 reported incidents in 2018 so far, claiming that the moves were needed to halt the flow of disinformation and incitement to violence. Many governments, including Saudi Arabia, are employing'troll armies' to manipulate social media and in many cases drown out the voices of dissidents.
Two Artificial Intelligence-driven Internet paradigms may emerge in the near future. One will be based on logic, smart enterprises and human merit while the other may morph into an Orwellian control tool. Even former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has foreseen a bifurcation of the Internet by 2028 and China's eventual triumph in the AI race by 2030. In the meantime, the US seems more interested in deflecting the smart questions of today than in building the smart factories of tomorrow. Nothing embodies this better than the recent attempt by MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) to create an AI-based filter to "stamp out fake-news outlets before the stories spread too widely."
Dating apps that allow users to filter their searches by race - or rely on algorithms that pair up people of the same race - reinforce racial divisions and biases, according to a new paper by Cornell University researchers. Researchers called for the apps to be redesigned, and for'racist' algorithms should be reprogrammed. Experts say that amid the huge rise in the usage of dating apps are meaning people are failing to meet diverse potential partners. Cornell researchers called for the apps to be redesigned, and for'racist' algorithms should be reprogrammed. The paper revealed how simple design decisions could decrease bias against people of all marginalized groups.
Sinakhone Keodara reached his breaking point last July. Loading up Grindr, the gay dating app that presents users with potential mates in close geographical proximity to them, the founder of a Los Angeles-based Asian television streaming service came across the profile of an elderly white man. He struck up a conversation, and received a three-word response: "Asian, ew gross." He is now considering suing Grindr for racial discrimination. For black and ethnic minority singletons, dipping a toe into the water of dating apps can involve subjecting yourself to racist abuse and crass intolerance.
Following the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, everyone is a little more conscious about their digital activity, and keeping their data secure. But with the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), what other factors may we need to consider? Imagine a scenario where you are in the supermarket. Your eyes fixed on a box of cereal for a few seconds, you hear your mobile phone beep and you receive a special offer for that particular product. This futuristic-sounding scenario may not actually be too far away from becoming a reality, and some important questions need to be asked.
Executives from Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Charter Communications, Google, and Twitter are heading to Washington Wednesday to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee on the topic of privacy. As ever, the main question will be: Are these companies doing enough to protect consumer privacy, and if not, what should Congress do about it? It has been the backdrop to just about every hearing with tech leaders over the last year--and there have been many. And yet, the threat of regulation carries new weight this time around. Over the summer, California passed the country's first data privacy bill, giving residents unprecedented control over their data.
If you're a black or Asian user of gay dating app Grindr, then it's possible you've encountered racism while using it. Some users of the app have said they've come across what they believe are discriminatory statements on other profiles - things like "no blacks and no Asians". Others say they've faced racist comments in conversation with users when they've rejected their advances. Now Grindr has taken a stand against discrimination on its platform and says no user is entitled to tear another down for "being who they are". It's launched the #KindrGrindr campaign to raise awareness of racism and discrimination and promote inclusivity among users.
Welcome back to another glorious episode of CTRL T. This week, Henry Pickavet and I explore Amazon's new cashier-less stores that promise no waiting in line -- except to get in -- and Uber's newest C-level executive hire. Full disclosure, I went to USC but Noble was not a professor there at the time. Additional disclosure, I wish I could have had her as a teacher because she's smart as hell. Final disclosure, Henry applied to USC but was rejected. In her book, Noble discusses the ways in which algorithms are biased and perpetuate racism.
Google is developing a version of its search engine that will conform to China's censorship laws, reports say. The company shut down the engine in 2010, complaining that free speech was being limited. But online news site The Intercept says Google has being working on a project code-named Dragonfly that will block terms like human rights and religion, a move sure to anger activists. One state-owned newspaper in China, Securities Daily, dismissed the report. "We provide a number of mobile apps in China, such as Google Translate and Files Go, help Chinese developers, and have made significant investments in Chinese companies like JD.com," it said.