Saturday, December 23, 2023

Regulating and Monitoring AI and Social Media

Plant and your spouse plants with you; weed and you weed alone. 
~Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“It is reasonable to think that the universe is infinite, and that there exist infinitely many galaxies broadly like ours, scattered throughout space and time, including in our future.” — Eric Schwitzgebel (UC Riverside) & Jacob Barandes (Harvard) explain why

Artificial light lures migrating birds into cities, where they face a gauntlet of threats The Conversation

How To Authenticate Large Datasets The Intercept. Media critique for the 21st century…. 

Rob Henderson, Troubled: A Memoir of Foster Care, Family, and Social Class.  Yes, that is the Rob Henderson of Twitter and Substack.  He was raised by foster parents and joined the Air Force at the age of seventeen.  He ended up with a Ph.D. from Cambridge.  This is his story, it covers class in America, and it is a paean to family stability.

There Were Giants in the Land: Episodes in the Life of W. Cleon Skousen.  Compiled and edited by Jo Ann and Mark Skousen.  If you are interested in LDS, one approach is to read The Book of Mormon.  Another option is to read a book like this one.  It is also, coming from a very different direction, a paean to family stability.

Thomas Bell, Kathmandu.  There should be more books about individual cities, and this is one of them, one of the best in fact.  Excerpt: “At its most local levels, of the neighbourhood, or the individual house, Kathmandu is ordered by religious concepts, either around holy stones, or divinely sanctioned carpentry and bricklaying techniques.  The same is true of the city as a whole.”  And how do they still have so many Maoists?

Out of Sri Lanka: Tamil, Sinhala & English Poetry from Sri Lanka and its Diasporas, edited by Vidyan Ravinthiran, Seni Seneviratne, and Shash Trevett.  A truly excellent collection, worthy of making the best non-fiction of 2023 list.  Or does this count as fiction?  It’s mostly about things that happened.

Eric H. Cline, After 1177 B.C.: The Survival of Civilizations.  A good sequel to the very good 1177 B.C.

Allison Pugh, The Last Human Job: The Work of Connecting in a Disconnected World accurately diagnosing networking as a skill that will rise significantly in value in a tech-laden world.

Dorian Bandy, Mozart The Performer: Variations on the Showman’s Art shows how Mozart, first and foremost, was a showman and that background shaped his subsequent output and career.

Marketing Company Claims That It Actually Is Listening to Your Phone and Smart Speakers to Target Ads

404 Media: “A marketing team within media giant Cox Media Group (CMG) claims it has the capability to listen to ambient conversations of consumers through embedded microphones in smartphones, smart TVs, and other devices to gather data and use it to target ads, according to a review of CMG marketing materials by 404 Media and details from a pitch given to an outside marketing professional. Called “Active Listening,” CMG claims the capability can identify potential customers “based on casual conversations in real time.” 

The news signals that what a huge swath of the public has believed for years—that smartphones are listening to people in order to deliver ads—may finally be a reality in certain situations. Until now, there was no evidence that such a capability actually existed, but its myth permeated due to how sophisticated other ad tracking methods have become. It is not immediately clear if the capability CMG is advertising and claims works is being used on devices in the market today, but the company notes it is “a marketing technique fit for the future. Available today.” 

404 Media also found a representative of the company on LinkedIn explicitly asking interested parties to contact them about the product. One marketing professional pitched by CMG on the tech said a CMG representative explained the prices of the service to them.”

Regulating and Monitoring AI and Social Media

  • Regulating AI Deepfakes – “Artificial intelligence–produced video and audio can make it impossible to separate fact from fiction when deciding how to vote. Next year will bring the first presidential election of the AI deepfake era, and policymakers must be prepared to protect the democratic process from the dangers of these new technologies. A new resource in our AI and Democracy series examines the benefits and dangers of artificial intelligence for electio.
  • Investigating Social Media Monitoring – This week, the Brennan Center and the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging it to find out if social media platforms Meta and X are adequately protecting people’s privacy. 
  • Despite the companies’ pledges, evidence suggests that they may be granting third-party businesses special access to users’ online data and enabling government surveillance. The public deserves to know whether Meta and X’s anti-surveillance commitments are nothing more than empty promises.”