News — At The Edge — 2/16

Much of a desirable future is clear — AI rights, privacy, education, legal pot, online hate — yet civilization seems terminally mired in the past.


A Bill of Rights for the Age of Artificial Intelligence —

“’ Whether we entrust our decisions to machines of metal, or to those machines of flesh and blood which are bureaus and vast laboratories and armies and corporations… [t]he hour is very late, and the choice of good and evil knocks at our door.’….

Concern has tended to focus on ‘us versus them’ (robots) or ‘gray goo’ (nanotech) or ‘monocultures of clones’ (bio). To extrapolate…,Any thinking being (made of any arrangement of atoms) could have access to any technology.

[Should be] concerned about the rights of all sentients in the face of an emerging unprecedented diversity of minds…[and] harnessing this diversity to minimize global existential risks….

[Today] as we change geographical location and mature, our unequal rights change dramatically. Embryos, infants, children, teens, adults, patients, felons, gender identities and gender preferences, the very rich and very poor — all of these face different rights and socioeconomic realities….

[We’d] probably have great difficulty pulling the plug, modifying, or erasing (killing) a computer and its memories — especially if it has befriended humans….

Homo sapiens variation in rights explodes into a riot of inequality as soon as we move to entities that overlap (or will soon) the spectrum of humanity….If robots don’t have exactly the same consciousness as humans, then this is used as an excuse to give them different rights, analogous to arguments that other tribes or races are less than human….

The robot Qbo has passed the ‘mirror test’ for self-recognition, and the robot Nao has passed a related test of recognizing its own voice and inferring its internal state of being….

For free will, we have algorithms…aimed at nearly optimal probabilistic decision-making….We could argue as to whether the robot actually experiences subjective qualia for free will or self-consciousness, but the same applies to evaluating a human….

The line between human and machines blurs, both because machines become more humanlike and because humans become more machinelike…blindly follow GPS scripts, reflex tweets, and carefully crafted marketing, but also as we digest ever more insights into our brain and genetic programming mechanisms….

As we (e.g., Hawking, Musk, Tallinn, Wilczek, Tegmark) have promoted bans on ‘autonomous weapons’…other machines — for instance…Homo sapiens voting — can be more lethal and more misguided….

William Gibson said, ‘The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.’ While this underestimates the next round of ‘future,’ certainly millions of us are transhuman already — with most of us asking for more.”

Privacy is a commons —

“’The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all… not owned privately’….[With] era of surveillance capitalism in a symbiotic relationship with advertising…[privacy] is a commons….

[T]he accumulation of individual privacy…like the accumulation of individual votes, is enormously consequential….[and] accumulation of data is…not a ‘personal privacy’ issue, but a massive public security problem…three problems, in fact….

  1. absence of privacy has a chilling effect on dissidence and individual thought….
  2. No privacy means no experimentation with anything…society disapproves, especially if it’s illegal…(…a long history of ‘illegal today’ becoming ‘acceptable tomorrow’…)….
  3. If privacy becomes a commodity… [rich] will use this information asymmetry to threaten and persecute people who challenge the status quo, thereby perpetuating it. Accumulated private data…will increasingly be used to manipulate public opinion on a massive scale….

[W]hat really worries me…[is] the highly effective, highly scalable manipulation of human behavior that AI enables, and its malicious use by corporations and governments’….

Anything which eats away at our individual privacy, especially at scale, is a risk to that commons….[The] selling privacy cheaply isn’t any better for society than letting it be seized without any compensation…[because] a more rapid degradation of the commons ….

[Or] would you think it OK for a company to purchase citizens’ voting rights.

[N]eed to defend privacy as a commons…[not] individual asset…sold to surveillance capitalists. It, and we, are more important than that.”

Bill Gates: Textbooks are ‘becoming obsolete’ —

“’[Read] my share of textbooks…[and] it’s a pretty limited way to learn something. Even the best…can’t figure out which concepts you understand and …need more help with….

[Instead] look at the text online, watch a super-engaging video that shows you how it’s done, and play a game that reinforces the concepts’….

[Just] using open-courseware saved students an average of $66 to $121 per course….[annually] can add up to $1,000, which can be the difference between staying in school or having to drop out’….

[Also] makes education more convenient and efficient. ‘Not having to show up to a physical classroom at a specific time makes a big difference to students who are balancing school with working and raising a family…[making] education more available to a broader array of people…[not]enrolled in a university….

[But] can be an overwhelming number of online classes and educational videos to choose from, and they’re not all going to be worth your time.”

Dem senator introduces S. 420 bill that would legalize marijuana —

“The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, would ‘responsibly legalize, tax and regulate marijuana at the federal level…to ‘preserve the integrity of state marijuana laws and provide a path for responsible federal legalization and regulation of the marijuana industry.

The federal prohibition of marijuana is wrong, plain and simple….Too many lives have been wasted, and too many economic opportunities have been missed. ‘The American people have elected the most pro-cannabis Congress in [history]….

[Bill] includes the Small Business Tax Equity Act…to prevent marijuana businesses’…getting hit with an unfair tax bill’ and another measure…to ‘shrink the gap between federal and state marijuana policies.”

WHO Recommends Rescheduling Cannabis in International Law for First Time in History —

“[Today] given the mounting evidence…the drug could prove beneficial in treating a number of health problems…a significant change in WHO’s position…for the last 60 years….

[So] cannabis resin and other marijuana products should be downgraded from a schedule IV to a schedule I drug under international law….[Also] products made with a cannabis extract known as cannabidiol…[with] no more than 0.2 percent THC, should be removed from all international drug control conventions….

[Criminalizing] ‘cannabis in the 1961…in the absence of scientific evidence, was a terrible injustice.’”

2018 really was more of a dumpster fire for online hate and harassment, ADL study finds —

“37 percent of Americans were subjected to severe hate and harassment online in 2018…up from about 18 percent in 2017…[and] half of all Americans experienced some form of harassment….

[56%] indicating… some of their harassment occurred on [Facebook]….[19%] on Twitter…(… seems low)…[17%] on YouTube…[16%] on Instagram and 13 percent on WhatsApp half of all daily users on Twitch have experienced harassment…38 percent of Reddit users….

’It’s deeply disturbing to see how prevalent online hate is, and how it affects so many’….

[Many] think that online hate makes people more susceptible to committing hate crimes….

80 percent [want]…action from lawmakers….[84%] think… technology platforms…need to do more work to curb the harassment, hate and hazing….LGBTQ community were targeted most frequently [63%].”

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May you live long and prosper!
Doc Huston

read original article at——artificial_intelligence-5