Links for 2017-03-15

  • Artificial intelligence is ripe for abuse, tech researcher warns: ‘a fascist’s dream’ | Technology | The Guardian

    “We should always be suspicious when machine learning systems are described as free from bias if it’s been trained on human-generated data,” Crawford said. “Our biases are built into that training data.” In the Chinese research it turned out that the faces of criminals were more unusual than those of law-abiding citizens. “People who had dissimilar faces were more likely to be seen as untrustworthy by police and judges. That’s encoding bias,” Crawford said. “This would be a terrifying system for an autocrat to get his hand on.” […] With AI this type of discrimination can be masked in a black box of algorithms, as appears to be the case with a company called Faceception, for instance, a firm that promises to profile people’s personalities based on their faces. In its own marketing material, the company suggests that Middle Eastern-looking people with beards are “terrorists”, while white looking women with trendy haircuts are “brand promoters”.

    (tags: bias ai racism politics big-data technology fascism crime algorithms faceception discrimination computer-says-no)

  • ASAP: Automatic Smoothing for Attention Prioritization in Streaming Time Series Visualization

    Peter Bailis strikes again. ‘Time series visualization of streaming telemetry (i.e., charting of key metrics such as server load over time) is increasingly prevalent in recent application deployments. Existing systems simply plot the raw data streams as they arrive, potentially obscuring large-scale deviations due to local variance and noise. We propose an alternative: to better prioritize attention in time series exploration and monitoring visualizations, smooth the time series as much as possible to remove noise while still retaining large-scale structure. We develop a new technique for automatically smoothing streaming time series that adaptively optimizes this trade-off between noise reduction (i.e., variance) and outlier retention (i.e., kurtosis). We introduce metrics to quantitatively assess the quality of the choice of smoothing parameter and provide an efficient streaming analytics operator, ASAP, that optimizes these metrics by combining techniques from stream processing, user interface design, and signal processing via a novel autocorrelation-based pruning strategy and pixel-aware preaggregation. We demonstrate that ASAP is able to improve users’ accuracy in identifying significant deviations in time series by up to 38.4% while reducing response times by up to 44.3%. Moreover, ASAP delivers these results several orders of magnitude faster than alternative optimization strategies.’

    (tags: dataviz graphs metrics peter-bailis asap smoothing aggregation time-series tsd)

  • When the Children Crashed Dad’s BBC Interview: The Family Speaks – WSJ

    Mr. Kelly describes his reaction as a mixture of surprise, embarrassment and amusement but also love and affection. The couple says they weren’t mad and didn’t scold the children. “I mean it was terribly cute,” Mr. Kelly said. “I saw the video like everybody else. My wife did a great job cleaning up a really unanticipated situation as best she possibly could… It was funny. If you watch the tape I was sort of struggling to keep my own laughs down. They’re little kids and that’s how things are.” “Yes I was mortified, but I also want my kids to feel comfortable coming to me,” Mr. Kelly said.
    aww!

    (tags: cute family bbc interviews funny viral kids hippity-hoppity robert-kelly)

  • UN privacy watchdog says ‘little or no evidence’ that mass surveillance works | ZDNet

    The United Nations’ special rapporteur on privacy has lambasted a spate of new surveillance laws across Europe and the US, saying that there is “little or no evidence” that mass monitoring of communications works. In a report published this week, Prof. Joseph Cannataci, the first privacy watchdog to take up the post, said he was neither convinced of the effectiveness or the proportionality “of some of the extremely privacy-intrusive measures that have been introduced by new surveillance laws.” He also said that bulk records collection, such as call and email metadata, runs the risk of “being hacked by hostile governments or organized crime.” Cannataci singled out recently-passed laws in France, Germany, the UK and the US, all of which have pushed through new legislation in the wake of the threat from the so-called Islamic State. He said that the passed laws amount to “gesture-politics,” which in his words, “have seen politicians who wish to be seen to be doing something about security, legislating privacy-intrusive powers into being — or legalize existing practices — without in any way demonstrating that this is either a proportionate or indeed an effective way to tackle terrorism.” A rise in public support of increased surveillance powers is “predicated on the psychology of fear,” he said, referring to the perceived threat of terrorism.

    (tags: surveillance law privacy un joseph-cannataci watchdogs terrorism fear fud)

  • The Lord British Postulate

    One of the most famous attributes of Lord British is that he is almost invincible. In every Ultima game in which he has appeared, he is designed to be almost impervious to a player’s character predations. However, there are ways for a player thinking outside the box to assassinate him. This phenomenon is the origin of the Lord British Postulate which states: “If it exists as a living creature in an MMORPG, someone, somewhere, will try to kill it.”[7] Virtually every MMO game displays numerous instances of this, with players attempting to kill (or, in the case of friendly NPCs, cause the death of) virtually every NPC or monster, howsoever powerful, meek, friendly, or ethereal.

    (tags: npcs gaming games lord-british murder rules mmorpgs)

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