ethics

8 posts
AI-generated voice used to fake phone call and steal money

Reporting for The Washington Post, Drew Harwell describes the case of the fake voice used for bad things: Thieves used voice-mimicking software to imitate a company executive’s speech and dupe his subordinate into sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to a secret account, the company’s insurer said, in a remarkable case that some researchers are calling one of the world’s first publicly reported artificial-intelligence heists. The managing director of a...

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Amazon stores voice recordings indefinitely

Alfred Ng for CNET: Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in May, demanding answers on Alexa and how long it kept voice recordings and transcripts, as well as what the data gets used for. The letter came after CNET’s report that Amazon kept transcripts of interactions with Alexa, even after people deleted the voice recordings. The deadline for answers was June...

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Unproven aggression detectors, more surveillance

In some public places, such as schools and hospitals, microphones installed with software listen for noise that sounds like aggression. The systems alert the authorities. It sounds useful, but in practice, the detection algorithms might not be ready yet. For ProPublica, Jack Gillum and Jeff Kao did some testing: Yet ProPublica’s analysis, as well as the experiences of some U.S. schools and hospitals that have used Sound Intelligence’s aggression detector,...

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Machine boss

For The New York Times, Kevin Roose on the possibility of machines becoming your boss: The goal of automation has always been efficiency, but in this new kind of workplace, A.I. sees humanity itself as the thing to be optimized. Amazon uses complex algorithms to track worker productivity in its fulfillment centers, and can automatically generate the paperwork to fire workers who don’t meet their targets, as The Verge uncovered...

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Cheap labor to power artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence, given its name, sounds like a computer learns everything its own. However, a set of algorithms can only become useful if there’s something to learn from: data. Dave Lee for BBC reports on a company in Kenya that supplies training data for self-driving cars: Brenda loads up an image, and then uses the mouse to trace around just about everything. People, cars, road signs, lane markings – even...

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Doing good data science

Mike Loukides, Hilary Mason, and DJ Patil published a first post in a series on data ethics on O’Reilly. We particularly need to think about the unintended consequences of our use of data. It will never be possible to predict all the unintended consequences; we’re only human, and our ability to foresee the future is limited. But plenty of unintended consequences could easily have been foreseen: for example, Facebook’s “Year...

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When surveillance turns into stalking

Many surveillance apps cater to parents who want to keep tabs on their children who have mobile phones. Many of these apps are used for less parental purposes. Jennifer Valentino-DeVries for The New York Times reports: More than 200 apps and services offer would-be stalkers a variety of capabilities, from basic location tracking to harvesting texts and even secretly recording video, according to a new academic study. More than two...

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Building a robot boyfriend

When it comes to robots and love, the concept typically deteriorates to subservient tools to satisfy male fantasies. Creative technologist Fei Lu aims for a more complex relationship with Gabriel2052: Creating Gabriel2052 is obviously technically challenging, but it’s ultimately a process within my control. He will become something—someone—I can form a lifelong bond with. Through bringing Gabriel2052 to life, I am investigating and confronting the ways in which technology and...

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Controlling the Unaccountable Algorithm

BBC Radio 4 looks at algorithms in our everyday lives and why we should care what goes on in the black box. Algorithms are the powerful mathematical tools which shape so much of modern life, from the news which appears in our timelines to the adverts which pop up on our computer. But with algorithms now assessing CVs for jobs, or mortgage applications, the need to understand what they do,...

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