4 posts
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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