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Links for 2023-07-05

  • Google Says It’ll Scrape Everything You Post Online for AI

    “If Google can read your words, assume they belong to the company now, and expect that they’re nesting somewhere in the bowels of a chatbot.”

    (tags: ai content google ip scraping ml training)

  • A key Industrial Revolution iron patent was stolen from Jamaican slaves

    An innovation that propelled Britain to become the world’s leading iron exporter during the Industrial Revolution was appropriated from an 18th-century Jamaican foundry, historical records suggest. The Cort process, which allowed wrought iron to be mass-produced from scrap iron for the first time, has long been attributed to the British financier turned ironmaster Henry Cort. It helped launch Britain as an economic superpower […] Now, an analysis of correspondence, shipping records and contemporary newspaper reports reveals the innovation was first developed by 76 black Jamaican metallurgists at an ironworks near Morant Bay, Jamaica. Many of these metalworkers were enslaved people trafficked from west and central Africa, which had thriving iron-working industries at the time. [….] “If you ask people about the model of an innovator, they think of Elon Musk or some old white guy in a lab coat,” she said. “They don’t think of black people, enslaved, in Jamaica in the 18th century.” Dr Sheray Warmington […] said the work was important for the reparations movement: “It allows for the proper documentation of the true genesis of science and technological advancement and provides a starting point for how to quantify and repair the impact that this loss has had on the developmental opportunities of postcolonial states, and push forward the discourse of technological transfer as a key tenet of the reparations movement.”
    “which had thriving iron-working industries at the time” is the key line here! Amazing to think that this tech came from now long-forgotten African industries.

    (tags: reparations slavery history britain industrial-revolution iron henry-cort jamaica)

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