A Blog by Jonathan Low


Jun 25, 2019

What Does the Rise of AI Art Mean For Human Creativity?

The creative possibilities for human-machine-algorithmic collaboration outnumber the threats. JL

Raya Bidshahri reports in Singularity Hub:

Works of art are a glimpse into the breadth of the creative works being generated by algorithms and machines. We have to ask what our role will be where machines are able to perform what complex, abstract, creative tasks. The implications on the future of work, education, and human societies are profound. AI artists may not represent a threat to human artists, but an opportunity to push creative boundaries. The most exciting artistic creations involve collaborations between humans and machines. Machines are working as an extension of our minds. We could use machines to expand on our creativity and push the boundaries of art.

What Does An AI Ethicist Do?

They are moderators and evangelists. Interpreters and advocates. And their primary function is to raise questions about how and why technology - AI especially - is being used internally and externally within the organizations that employ them and what the consequences of those sources and uses may be.

All with the goal of reducing bias, conflict and inappropriate influences which, from a business standpoint, lessen the optimal influence of the technology. JL

Tom Davenport reports in MIT Sloan Management Review:

AI was the “spark that lit ethics in tech,” including analytics, the internet of things, and virtual and augmented reality, as well as AI. Many solutions in the real world are hybrids of these technologies and (there is a) need to consider the ethical, social, and political aspects of the technology. There are many questions on which concrete policies remain to be developed. For example, mistakes made by AI systems and legal remediation for harm from AI.

Walmart and Amazon Want To See Inside Your House. Permanently.

They get to keep the video recording of authorized inside-the-home deliveries. And no, they are not willing to promise that information will never be used for other purposes. JL

Sam Dean reports in the Los Angeles Times:

The war for the e-commerce shopper is fought on the battlefield of convenience. There’s no pain point so small someone won’t pay to do away with it. The two largest retailers in the U.S., are now offering to send delivery people inside your house to safely deposit your packages indoors and your groceries inside your fridge. Both companies are promising to let you watch the deliveries happen live on video. There’s one catch: Amazon and Walmart get to hang on to that video. It would be very difficult to resist the temptation of ‘Look, we have all this video inside people’s houses. Let’s use it to train AI to recognize specific products we can recommend.” Google last year filed a patent application (for) a system that would do that.

Wait, Where Did Our New Hire Go?

A full employment economy has exacerbated the problem, but in an age where 'ghosting' is considered acceptable behavior, no hire is for sure until they show up. More than once. JL

Sue Shellenbarger reports in the Wall Street Journal:

More than one in four workers say they’ve backed out after accepting a new job.It’s most common among those with two to six years’ experience. “This is the generation that breaks up by text message, so in a professional context, to have to let someone down or give bad news was terrifying.” (But) “feelings get hurt. People at take this extremely personally." Word of such reversals can spread fast among employers and recruiters. “I kind of burned a bridge.”

How Supermodel Gigi Hadid Is Using Instagram To Overturn Copyright Law

In the age of social media, personal brands, borrowing song elements and other expressions of creativity, who is to say what's original.

And if you think the answer is clear cut, remember how many multi-billion tech intellectual property lawsuits have been settled rather than litigated. JL

Ashley Carmen reports in The Verge:

Model Gigi Hadid believes she should be able to post paparazzi pictures on her Instagram account because her participation in their photos — from posing to choosing her outfit — invalidates a photographer’s ownership claims. A copyright infringement lawsuit claims Hadid posted (an) image to Instagram, which it claims violates the company’s copyright. In a motion to dismiss, Hadid’s legal team asserts that her posting the image constituted fair use because she contributed to the photo in the form of a smile and her outfit. The memorandum says Hadid didn’t infringe on any copyright “because Ms. Hadid posed for the camera and thus contributed many of the elements that the copyright law seeks to protect.”

What Happens When Amazon's Domination Is Complete? A Hint.

As long as Amazon is making a sale, it does not care about ownership, authenticity, quality, intellectual property or fraud.

Who needs the dark web when Amazon can enable any behavior from which it profits? And no one, as yet, has had the courage to challenge it. JL

David Streitfeld reports in the New York Times:

“Being a tech monopoly means you don’t have to care about quality.”This is not negligence. It is the company’s business model. Problems arise from Amazon’s domination. The company sells more than half of the books in the United States, new and used as well as digital and audio. Amazon is also a platform for third-party sellers, a publisher, a printer, a self-publisher, a reviewer, a textbook supplier and a distributor that now runs its own chain of stores. But Amazon takes a hands-off approach, never checking the authenticity, much less the quality, of what it sells. The real author may get cheated but Amazon still makes a sale.

Jun 24, 2019

Why Quantum Computing Supremacy Could Happen This Year

The rate of growth - described as 'doubly exponential' - is significantly more powerful than that of Moore's Law. And it does appear to be happening now. JL

Kevin Hartnett reports in Quanta:

Neven’s law,” (is) a new kind of rule to describe how quickly quantum computers are gaining on classical ones. Quantum computers have an intrinsic exponential advantage over classical ones. This would be true even if quantum technology never improved.The second exponential factor comes from the rapid improvement of quantum processors. Quantum computers are gaining computational power relative to classical ones at a “doubly exponential” rate.With double exponential growth, “it looks like nothing is happening, nothing is happening, and then, suddenly you’re in a different world. That’s what we’re experiencing.”