Updates | 10.13.16

10.13: artificial intelligence; privacy matters; calls

updates and ideas from the D&S community and beyond

—ongoing calls—
We are seeking a media relations and editorial professional to join our communications team.
We are hiring two to four postdoctoral scholars for 2017-18; apply by December 6.
IJOC Call for Papers: Special Section on “Privacy at the Margins”

Around the Institute

Artificial intelligence, current challenges
Hype and fear around artificial intelligence have been growing. This is an important moment for grounded inquiry into AI’s social effects and prospects. (Yesterday, the White House released a report on the state of AI and “the questions that progress in AI raises for society and public policy.”) Data & Society’s Intelligence & Autonomy initiative has been pursuing analyses of machine intelligence that account for recurring challenges across domains — and we have new work to share!

An AI Pattern Language: How are practitioners grappling with the social impacts of AI systems? An AI Pattern Language presents a taxonomy of social challenges that emerged from interviews with a range practitioners working in the intelligent systems and AI industry. This book describes these challenges and articulates an array of patterns that practitioners have developed in response.

The Wisdom of the Captured: “For services with thousands or millions of active, networked users, those users’ own behavior, as captured by the system, is likely to be the best source of data on the system’s efficacy. Capturing the data of an entire service’s users can produce a type of valuable wisdom, but not from a crowd of collaborators.”

Regional Diversity in Autonomy and Work: A Case Study from Uber and Lyft Drivers: Preliminary observations of rideshare drivers and their changing working conditions reveals the significant role of worker motivations and regional political environments on the social and economic outcomes of automation. Technology’s capacity for social change is always combined with non-technological structures of power—legislation, economics, and cultural norms.

Please visit the Intelligence & Autonomy website for more. As always, we welcome your feedback.

Points: If you want to know why privacy matters, the play’s the thing
“That some of us are more vulnerable to the misuse and manipulation of all of that data is a consequence of a complex set of social, economic, and technological factors.” —Mary Madden

How do we reform tech?
“…people who love technology, who are still enamored of its amazing potential, need to feel a sense of urgency about changing the culture and practices of the big tech companies. The era of being seen only as positive contributors to society is quickly coming to an end, and without a healthy culture of self-criticism, the backlash will be so strong that it takes the good tech products down with the bad.” —Anil Dash

Welcoming Alondra Nelson
We are very excited to announce that D&S advisor Alondra Nelson is joining our Board of Directors!

Around the Around

Toward a Constructive Technology Criticism
“Something about criticism in the context of technology seems to suggest that technological change is problematic, or something to be resisted entirely. Yet other forms of cultural criticism don’t share this fault-finding burden. In other contexts, criticism is understood to be thoughtful consideration and close analysis rather than oppositional judgment and rejection. By only seeing the negative connotations of technology criticism, we miss opportunities to better understand our ongoing social and cultural relationship to technology.” —Sara M. Watson

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram surveillance tool was used to arrest Baltimore protestors
“Geofeedia used the company’s APIs to create real-time maps of social media activity in protest areas, maps which were subsequently used to identify, and in some cases arrest, protestors shortly after their posts became public. All three services [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram] have terminated Geofeedia’s access to the relevant APIs.” —Russell Brandom

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