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Gordon Hull
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By Gordon Hull As a criterion for algorithmic assessment, “fairness” has encountered numerous problems. Many of these emerged in the wake of ProPublica’s argument that Broward County’s pretrial detention system, COMPAS, was unfair to black suspects. To recall: In 2016, ProPublica published an investigation piece criticizing Broward County, Florida’s use... Continue reading
Luke Stark argues that Facial recognition should be treated as the “plutonium of AI” – something so dangerous that it’s use should be carefully controlled and limited. If you follow the news, you’ll know that we’re currently treating it as the carbon dioxide of AI, a byproduct of profit-making that... Continue reading
People make snap judgments about those they see the first time – mentally categorizing someone as friendly, threatening, trustworthy, etc. Most of us know that those impressions are idiosyncratic, and suffused with cultural biases along race, gender and other lines. So obviously I know what you’re thinking… we need an... Continue reading
in refusing to grant copyright registration to an AI creation. I suspect this one to be litigated for a while, since the person who has been trying to get protection for the picture has declared limiting copyright to human authors as something that would be unconstitutional (I also think it... Continue reading
First read this piece by Abeba Birhane, who warns about neocolonial exploitation of people in Africa by AI and big tech. Then read this detailed account of content moderation for Facebook in Kenya and abuse of the workers involved. Continue reading
If you want to use their website; WaPo has the story here. But it's one of those public/private partnerships where data leaks and hacks and thefts happen. To their credit, the Post went to Joy Buolamwini, whose work proved that facial recognition systems work best on white men and worst... Continue reading
The SCOTUS decision yesterday striking down OSHA’s vaccine mandate is based on some of the most sophomoric reasoning the Court has issued in a long time. And I am aware of what Court I’m talking about. The gist of the argument is that OSHA is only authorized to enact safety... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Machine Learning (ML) applications learn by repetition. That is, they come to recognize what, say, a chair looks like, by seeing lots of images of chairs that have been correctly labeled as such. Since the machine is trying to figure out a pattern or set of characteristics... Continue reading
This is not what critical race theory says: "Critical race theory, Guelzo says, is a subset of critical theory that began with Immanuel Kant in the 1790s. It was a response to — and rejection of — the principles of the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason on which the... Continue reading
(story via Julia Angwin) You might remember that Amazon solemnly swore to Congress that they did not artificially elevate their own products in search results. Except that they do. Adrianne Jeffries and Leon Yin of The Markup used a machine learning algorithm to predict product placement in search results: “We... Continue reading
This piece, on Facebook's behaving more like an autocratic, hostile state than a large company, is worth the read. Here's an excerpt: "Perhaps Americans have become so cynical that they have given up on defending their freedom from surveillance, manipulation, and exploitation. But if Russia or China were taking the... Continue reading
I was both saddened and stunned this morning to read of the passing of Charles Mills. I first met him at a SPEP years ago; I was having lunch at some random sandwich shop with friends. He knew one of us, and asked if he could join. Nevermind that we... Continue reading
Shameless self-promotion dept... here's the preprint for my new paper, "The Death of the Data Subject," now forthcoming in Law, Culture and the Humanities. And here's the abstract: This paper situates the data privacy debate in the context of what I call the death of the data subject. My central... Continue reading
And what does that mean? Now is a good time to ask. The Court has let stand a 5th Circuit decision upholding a Texas law that is plainly unconstitutional under current SCOTUS jurisprudence (it bans abortion at 6 weeks) and involves an enforcement mechanism that comes straight from Stalin’s playbook... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Last time, I started to look at the details of the Supreme Court’s recent TransUnion decision, which ruled that a credit agency that wrongly labeled someone as a match for a terrorist watch list (using only first and last names, with no effort at verification. Sorry “John... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull In one of the Seinfeld episodes, the proprietor of a popular lunch stop would deny service to customers who offended his arbitrary sensibilities with a loud “No Soup for You!” This is basically the outcome of the Supreme Court’s June decision on standing, TransUnion v. Ramirez. “Standing”... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull In a previous post, I noted that Foucault strongly implies in a 1978 interview that his communist detractors are bureaucrats, and tied that to an earlier interview with Maoists in which he suggests that structuring populist tribunals on the model of bourgeois courts would fail to break... Continue reading
My further thoughts on the background through which we should interpret Covid patent waivers, at Real Life. Continue reading
By Gordon Hull In a previous post, I made the case for reading Foucault’s 1978 comments on Marxism (especially in the Yoshimoto interview) in the context of theory/practice questions raised by the re-evaluation of Marx’s 11th “Thesis on Feuerbach.” Here I want to flesh out that position a little more,... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Update (4/30). Essential piece by Amy Kapczynski (who is one of my sources below). Also see this Twitter thread by Dennis Crouch of PatentlyO, characterizing the issue as one of technology transfer more generally than patents specifically. Trade secrets are an important issue - like patents, they... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Foucault thinks Marxism is bossy. In Society must be Defended, he lays down the gauntlet clearly enough: totalizing theories get in the way of useful things at the local level. As he notes, one should beware of: “the inhibiting effect specific to totalitarian theories, or at least... Continue reading
Via Foucault News: “Paul Rabinow, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of anthropology and world-renowned anthropologist, died April 6 at the age of 76 in his Berkeley home. Rabinow spent about 41 years at UC Berkeley between 1978 to 2019, serving as the director of anthropology for the Contemporary Research Collaboratory and... Continue reading
I've been commenting off and on about the vagaries of Covid data - for example, in knowing what "covid cases" refers to (and here); states' early conflation of PCR and antibody tests; the vagaries of different testing technologies, or the ways that even death certificates can mislead about mortality. This... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull “Factory work exhausts the nervous system to the uttermost; at the same time, it does away with the many-sided play of the muscles, and confiscates every atom of freedom, both in bodily and in intellectual activity” (Marx, Capital I [Penguin Ed.], 548). A recent piece by Josh... Continue reading
You might have heard that minorities are hesitant about getting a Covid vaccine? Well, about that. According to polling reported by Axios, the group least likely to want a vaccine is White Republicans... to the point that "White Americans are now less likely than Black and Latino Americans to say... Continue reading