Why Artificial Intelligence Should Terrify You

By Nicole Clark : bolditalic – excerpt

Our resident Silicon Valley CEOs are feuding over A.I. They’re both wrong.

Two days ago, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, an outspoken proponent of artificial intelligence regulation, dished out a sick burn via Twitter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Musk called Zuckerberg’s knowledge of AI “limited.” Sounds benign to you or me, but in the rarefied world of the tech world, them’s fightin’ words.

Every tech-news outlet has jumped on this story; it’s another course du jour in the saga of two tech leaders embroiled in a fight over whose opinion of AI — opinions that cannot be substantiated anywhere in the near future — is more correct…

This sort of coverage builds comedy and mystique as a buffer around a technology that should honestly be regarded as scarier. I’m not talking about I, Robot, in which machines take violently to the streets and populate the earth like human proxies — according to Mark O’Connell’s To Be a Machine, machines possess really shitty motor skills. No one actually knows how the brain works, so it’s doubtful we’ll be able to build something that truly emulates it. I’m referring to the explicit knowledge that AI and automation in general will steal jobs and, even more seriously, stagnate social mobility in the near future — to name just two downsides…

Equally troubling is the potential for AI to poorly manage things like “driving cars, curing diseases…[and] understanding media,” as Zuckerberg stated in 2016 after completing Jarvis, an AI that runs his home. We already know that AI can pick up bias. Because these data sets come from human subjects, the biases implicit in these subjects get baked into the software. In this particular study, the machine-learning program associated “wedding” with females versus “professional” and “salary” with males — among other infractions….(more)

Scary AI Stories: There were reports this week of a couple of computers that started chatting with each other in a language that their “human handlers” could not understand when tasked with negotiating with each other. The program was allegedly discontinued, but, knowing that two computers are capable of making up a language of their own, is rather disconcerting and why I chose to run this story.

 

 

Should Uber be shut down?

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

2015 press conference on the steps of SF City Hall before the corporate culture before the Uber’s corporate profile was revealed –  photo by zrants

Harvard business professor says the real problem in the tech industry is a “contagious” culture of lawbreaking that society shouldn’t tolerate

Everyone’s talking about Uber’s latest problems with management style, sexual harassment, company culture … and CEO Travis Kalanick, who embodied all of that, has been forced out.

Big investors hope Kalanick’s resignation and a deep internal investigation will help position the company for an IPO. They want Uber to go public pretty soon, and all of these scandals are tamping down the stock price.

But there’s another interesting perspective on Uber (and Lyft, and some of the other tech disrupters) that has appeared not in The Nation, or Mother Jones, or 48hills but in the Harvard Business Review, the voice of the eminently establishment Harvard Business School.

Harvard Associate Professor Benjamin Edelman presents what sounds like a radical hypothesis, but it actually makes perfect sense. He says that Uber can’t be fixed, that the corporate culture was poisoned from the start – and that the only solution is for regulators to shut it down.

The company’s cultural dysfunction, it seems to me, stems from the very nature of the company’s competitive advantage: Uber’s business model is predicated on lawbreaking. And having grown through intentional illegality, Uber can’t easily pivot toward following the rules (more)

What a coincidence that a Harvard scholar picks the “Summer of Government Overreach”, to acknowledge “Corporate Overreach” and lawless disruptive behaviors. When corporate “shared-property” schemes proved popular with the public, politicians helped pave the way. Now, they are trying to clean up the mess they created by disrupting communities and displacing millions of law-abiding citizens to make way for visions of a perfect future in 2040. Et is must be easier to fix the future than the present.

Closures, overcrowding, rats: New York City commuters face ‘summer of hell’

By Tom McCarthy : theguardian – excerpt

Being trapped is a common thread in fictional future forecasts. Our urban planners’  future perfect plans for tiny crowded units with public transport ride-shares feel a lot like the futuristic city depicted in the 1985 Terry Gilliam movie, “Brazil”. where there is no easy way out.

The city’s aging subway has been declared ‘a state of emergency’. Combined with closures on other rail lines, riders are bracing for the worst

There was a time – somewhere between the 1990s exorcism of violent crime from much of New York City and Thursday, when a “state of emergency” was declared for the city’s transit system – when a nightmare scenario on the subway meant a rat crawling up your leg, over your chest and nearly into your hoody.

That remains a vividly awful prospect. But in the summer of 2017, rats are competing with a ballooning number of alternative potential torments for commuters (the term is used optimistically) who venture into the city’s aging underground.

Dangerously overcrowded platforms. Chronically delayed trains. Terrifying and injurious derailments. Tunnel strandings. Signal malfunctions. Fisticuffs. Electrical outages. Garbled announcements. Knockout stenches. Non-rat wildlife. Stairs, shoulders, backups, backpacks, bad attitudes and bad breath.

A particularly unlucky group of rush hour F-train riders last month were stuck inside overheating train cars for so long that video of their desperate fingers prying open fogged-up doors looked not so much like the scene from a commute as footage from a zombie movie… (more)

Anti-protest bills would ‘attack right to speak out’ under Donald Trump

By Adam Gabatt :  theguardian – excerpt


This, it is a “Declaration of Dependence” written by Thomas Bruce Reese and a few other artists in 1976, who understood the necessity of proclamations and drama when it comes to protecting the planet.

The ACLU says more than 30 bills have been introduced amid a huge swell of activism, prompting UN intervention over criminalization of peaceful protest

More than 20 states have proposed bills that would crack down on protests and demonstrations since Donald Trump was elected, in a moved that UN experts have branded “incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law”.

The proposed laws would variously increase the penalties for protesting in large groups, ban protesters from wearing masks during demonstrations and, in some states, protect drivers from liability if they strike someone taking part in a protest… (more)

In this context of confused facts and suspect news articles, I am starting to explore the meaning of truth and the importance of placing trust in one’s own reality and experience above all else. Where does our basis for truth and trust come from?

Pipeline Fighters

By Marino Colmano : grandintheatre – excerpt

This is a FREE event sponsored by Preserve Giles County, Preserve Roanoke County and Preserve Franklin County.  There will be a Q & A session afterwards with the sponsors and the filmmaker.

Pipeline Fighters voice their opposition to interstate pipelines in the Virginias for the transport of fracked gas to export terminals, and abroad. Natural gas procured through unconventional hydraulic fracturing, has been the gold rush of the last decade. Pipelines are needed to move this massive glut of natural gas. Through the voices of the Appalachian people we explore in microcosm the global issue of environmental predation, the legacy of the energy industry, their current production goals to DOUBLE the development of natural FRACKED gas coming out of the Appalachian Basin, and the great relevance this has on the geo political scene and climate change…(more)

Director/Director: Marino Colmano
All the media coverage on pipeline opposition has been concentrated on the Standing Rock lately. This is a reminder that many other states have citizens who oppose the proliferation of pipelines near their sources of drinking water as well. Many rivers and tributaries downstream from coal ash disposal sites have been contaminated by spills and some communities have been covered in ash:
A Brief History of U.S. Coal Ash Since the Kingston Spill

Is San Francisco Losing Its DNA?

By Stefanie Doucette : thebolditalic – excerpt

The iconic DNA Lounge club may be facing the end of its days.

… Currently, the interior of DNA Lounge is looking a little grim and stressed. Jamie flips over a chair to examine a wobby leg and fiddles with it. He’s working hard to fix a lot of things. No one there is trying to hide the fact that the club is in a hard spot, despite seeing moments of massive success over the years: public recognition from Mayor Newsom in 2010, multiple Best of the Bay awards and stage appearances from some of the most famous musical acts in the world.

“We need a quick fix because I am out of money. I can’t make long-term investments because I don’t know how I’m keeping the lights on in the short term.”…

San Francisco has harbored counterculture communities for decades. Where did they all go?

A lot of them are at DNA Lounge — those who have found it, anyway. It’s in the heart of SOMA, at the intersection of 11th Street and Howard, next to Slim’s and along the path of the Folsom Street Fair. To get there you have to walk past several blocks of tents made from plastic tarp and old furniture, strung up underneath the concrete pillars where 101 meets I-80. Over the years, the streets around DNA Lounge have seen these shanty towns grow in proportion to the shiny condos towering over them(more)

No matter which city you live in or near, the gentrification factor is present along with the growing shantytowns, now tent cities. Look around you and you will see the dying DNAs amid the soulless towers and homeless encampments. Who do citizens turn this trend around? We are looking at LA and their Measure S to slow development in that city for answers. In a few hours we will know if they won or lost the battle.

RELATED:

An Elegy for Caffe Med, One of the Last Outposts of 1960s Counterculture (Photos)

The iconic Berkeley hangout — where Black Panthers held meetings and Allen Ginsberg penned “Howl” — closes its doors for good

Telegraph Avenue has been in flux (some might say decline) for decades as long-standing businesses capitulate to fast-food eateries and chain retail. The biggest blow was probably when Cody’s Books closed.

Cody’s Books — along with Moe’s Books, Shakespeare & Co, and Black Oak Books — was a core member of the group of independent booksellers clustered around the north end of Telegraph. Alice Walker, Salman Rushdie, Maurice Sendak and Norman Mailer, among others, all did readings at Cody’s. During the tumult of the ’60s and early ’70s, the store served as a shelter and first-aid station for anti-Vietnam protesters. Its closure in 2006 was widely perceived as the beginning of the end for the avenue’s local and independent businesses. And of the four major bookstores formerly located on and around Telegraph, only Moe’s survives (more)

Ok. This is seriously sad. Caffe med was the first coffee shop I experienced in Berkeley when I got to California. I probably had my first late there.

Affordable housing complex gives artists a refuge from SoCal housing crisis

By Nadine Ono : caeconomy – excerpt

CandyJo Dahlstrom and her husband are working artists in Southern California. Like many, they are freelancers who live without a regular paycheck and often find themselves struggling to pay rent. But they are lucky, after finding a home and community in Glendale’s Ace 121, a new affordable housing complex for working artists.

“Everybody is struggling in this economy and then being an artist who doesn’t have consistent income it was always really hard for us to make rent and still be able to have any money to do anything on the side,” said Dahlstrom, who works as a make-up artist, costumer designer, dance instructor, while her husband teaches writing and acting.

She has three children and the family was living in a two-bedroom apartment before moving to Ace 121. “We’ve been barely scraping by paycheck to paycheck, even needing help from friends and family for the past couple years.”

“All communities in L.A. are in dire need of affordable housing,” said Michelle Coulter, project manager at Meta Housing Corporation, which developed the 70-unit complex. “Glendale took advantage of an opportunity and, given their unique partnership with the YMCA, this project was a serendipitous result of that opportunity.”…

With more than a third of California’s renters paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing, artists and others would stand to benefit from affordable units and also housing policies that help fill demand and take a bite out of the growing affordability problem. Ace 121 is a good example of placing affordable housing near transit and jobs as well as adding value to the neighborhood and community, which are included in the California Economic Summit’s Housing Action Plan.

“We feel it’s an important priority, especially given the importance of artists in L.A., frankly as an industry, this is so much a part of our industrial base,” said Coulter. “We’re not talking about creative communities just for the sake of creative communities, we’re talking about the industrial base for our (Los Angeles) County.”… (more)