Controversial Reads 081421

However, in the last 5-10 years it has felt that technology is actually running the other way. We aren’t getting more productive with our technology — we’re getting less productive. Even as technology grows, it is not providing significant gains, and in fact is giving us problems.

Here’s a paper worth revisiting, “On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots: Can Language Models Be Too Big?” (March 3, 2021), if only for the principal author’s trouble associated with publishing it.

Silicon Valley was created in the Second World War to help the U.S. Army win the war. The government funded companies such as Fairchild Semiconductor.

How many messaging services do you use? Slack, Discord, WhatsApp, Apple iMessage, Signal, Facebook Messenger, Microsoft Teams, Instagram, TikTok, Google Hangouts, Twitter Direct Messages, Skype?

There’s uncertainty among executives and managers who must ensure that individual and team productivity remains high, customer demands are met, and employees are engaged. How can they meet these requirements when their workers aren’t corralled in offices?

Why should you care about data brokers? Reporting this week about a Substack publication outing a priest with location data from Grindr shows once again how easy it is for anyone to take advantage of data brokers’ stores to cause real harm.

Much has been said about the criticality of the small coterie of large-scale content distribution platforms and their critical role in today’s Internet. These days when one of the small set of core content platforms experiences a service outage, it’s mainstream news, as we saw in June 2021 with outages reported in both Fastly and Akamai.

On May 31 last year, 25-year-old Safarain Herring was shot in the head and dropped off at St. Bernard Hospital in Chicago by a man named Michael Williams. He died two days later.

There is a growing tendency toward censorship in the United States, made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Lol” [laugh out loud] and other common texting lingo may be a contingent means for people to express laughter or amusement—but there is something else going on here; something I worry largely goes unaddressed in the repetitive online space.

Epic Systems, America’s largest electronic health records company, maintains medical information for 180 million U.S. patients (56% of the population). Using the slogan, “with the patient at the heart,” it has a portfolio of 20 proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms designed to identify different illnesses and predict the length of hospital stays.

After decades of hype, it’s only natural for your eyes to skate over corporate mission-statements without stopping to take note of them, but when it comes to ending your relationship with them, tech giants’ stated goals take on a sinister cast.

And one of the most dangerous proposals may be adopted in Canada. How bad is it? As Stanford’s Daphne Keller observes, “It’s like a list of the worst ideas around the world.” She’s right.

In 2018, McKinsey Global Institute released “Notes from the AI Frontier,” a report that seeks to predict the economic impact of artificial intelligence. Looming over the report is how the changing nature of work might transform society and pose challenges for policymakers.

This past spring, rolling out a software update (iOS 14.5) that empowers users to say no to apps surveilling their activity across the internet did demonstrate something important: People choose privacy when they don’t have to struggle for control over their information.

Apple has announced impending changes to its operating systems that include new “protections for children” features in iCloud and iMessage.