Politics and Technology: That Time Judge Brett Kavanaugh Was Wrong on Net Neutrality

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Net Neutrality graffiti on a brick wall

It turns out that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has a track record of being devastatingly wrong on Net Neutrality, as explained by TechCrunch‘s Devin Coldewey:

DC Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been nominated for the position of Supreme Court Justice, and on this occasion I think it warranted that we revisit in detail the sound intellectual thrashing this man suffered at the hands of his colleagues just last year on the topic of the internet and net neutrality. Because Kavanaugh was very, very wrong then and gives every indication that he will take his ignorance unapologetically to the highest court in the land.

It’s one of those times when politics and technology intersect like a 19th Century head on train crash. If you care about Net Neutrality (being restored), understanding this nominee’s position on the subject makes this piece a very good read.


Uber Lays Off 'Safety Drivers' for Autonomous Testing in Pittsburgh, Rejiggers Program

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Uber Autonomous Vehicle

Uber laid off 100 “safety drivers” in Pittsburgh amidst a rejiggering of its aggressive autonomous vehicle testing program. From Quartz:

The company held a meeting earlier today (July 11) to inform about 100 autonomous vehicle operators—people who monitor its self-driving cars—that their jobs were being terminated, a source close to the situation told Quartz. Uber said it was eliminating the position of autonomous vehicle operator, and that operators were free to apply to other roles at the company, the source said.

Uber confirmed it laid off about 100 autonomous vehicle operators in Pittsburgh and eliminated the position. The company plans to replace these jobs with about 55 “mission specialists”—specialists who are trained in both on-road and more advanced test-track operations, and who are expected to provide more technical feedback to self-driving car developers. Uber said affected operators could apply for these positions.

Go Ahead, Ask Siri if She's Spying on You

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Siri, are you spying on me?

Lots have been written, both seriously and in jest, about whether our AIs spy on us. But why not just ask Siri? Will she lie? This light-hearted experiment has been tried, in the provided link, and the nature of the responses is interesting. Some day, Siri will be a lot smarter, but will the answer be just as blunt? Or more helpful? Right now, ::cough:: it seems more like the game of Eliza.

And I Shall Call It… 'Darth iMac Pro'

· · Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves

You can see why I took to calling this beast

Last month Dr. Mac borrowed an iMac Pro from Apple and performed some tests. His first observation out of the box was that the Space Gray finish on all components—the iMac itself, the keyboard, and the mouse, was stunning. That was when he began calling it “Darth.”


Human Evolution Came From Multiple Ancestral Populations

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Human evolution is the result of more than one ancestral population. In a new commentary paper, it suggests Homo sapiens emerged from a single ancestral population and a single geographic region in Africa. But other experts think differently.

While ‘Mitochondrial Eve’ was a real person, she wasn’t the only ancestor around, and would not have come from the only population around. She just happened to be the woman from which all people living today inherited their mitochondrial genetic code.

Algorithms Need a Conscience in the Public Sector

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AI Agent

Algorithms need a conscience in the public sector, according to author Virginia Eubanks. She has a book called Automating Inequality, and she argues that the poor are a testing ground for new technology that increases inequality.

To some extent, we’re used to companies making arbitrary decisions about our lives — mortgages, credit card applications, car loans, etc. Yet, these decisions are based almost entirely on straightforward factors of determination — like credit score, employment and income. In the case of algorithmic determination in social services, there is bias in the form of outright surveillance in combination with forced PII share imposed upon recipients.

The DOD Needs AI to Help With Classification

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The Department of Defense is looking for special AI to help with classification. The DOD issued a request for information (ROI) from the tech industry, looking for help.

Defense IT officials are seeking software that “must be able to make real-time decisions about the classification level of the information and an individual’s ability to access, change, delete, receive, or forward the information based on the credentials of the sending and/or receiving individual, facility, and system.”

Jason Momoa Starring in Apple's 'See' Original TV Series

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Jason Momoa at Comic Con

Jason Momoa, well known for his role as Khal in Game of Thrones, has been signed for the lead in Apple’s original TV series See. The show is a futuristic “world building drama” written by Steve Knight and directed by Francis Lawrence. Variety says Momoa’s character is “Baba Voss, a fearless warrior, leader and guardian,” which is pretty much what he’s known for playing. That said, Apple isn’t shying away from big-name talent for the shows in its upcoming television series lineup.