Weekend Reading 2.12.17

Welcome to Saturday and Weekend Reading. This week: we love the internet, technology, and all the clever people doing clever things to make our lives better. But still…   


In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast, three experts on artificial intelligence help us understand how we accidentally transferred our biases into our infant AI – and we’re still doing it.

So how do we teach our machines which inferences they should consider useful and which they should consider harmful?

Engineering and building the digital world: walled enclaves, or an internet for all?

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the internet, famously said: “I imagined the web as an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities, and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries.”  But inequality in internet access is an increasing and a worrying thing, exacerbating and perpetuating non-digital inequality.  

We’re also accidentally building inequality into our “smart cities”. Just as engineers and designers build cities, and often “bake in” terrible inequalities into the urban landscape without meaning to, those designing, engineering and building the internet do so too.  

This fascinating article draws the analogy with Robert Moses, the “master builder” of modern New York whose inequality-baking influence was battled by Jane Jacobs (see the great film).  Who are the Moses of our internet age? And how much should we trust them?


Featured image: Ian Lambot – http://cityofdarkness.co.uk/order-print/01-aerial-view/

Also found in the book City of Darkness – Life in Kowloon Walled City by Ian Lambot (ISBN 1-873200-13-7).,   

CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56276674

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