Amazon has patented a way of tracking hand movement to monitor their workers’ performance. Nothing Amazon do should shock; they’re a corporation fighting for dominance in a capitalist world.
Maybe they are planning on tracking movement, comparing it against the efficiency algorithms and punishing the transgressors. Wouldn’t that be a shot in the foot though? It presumes that the optimum movement has been found and precludes those clever inventive humans from improving what they do. That can’t be good for leading edge capitalism, can it?
Or maybe they’re going to use the workers movements to train the machine learning robots of the future.
Whichever it is, it sends an unpleasant tingle down my spine.
photo credit: corno.fulgur75 13e Biennale de Lyon: La Vie Moderne 2015 via photopin (license)
An article in Wired magazine – Don’t Make AI Artificially Stupid In the Name of Transparancy – suggests solutions to the governance of machine learning.
For some reason, it reminded me of a story I read some years ago. In 1968 a three year experiment of not changing the clocks from BST resulted in fewer road traffic deaths; data suggested more people were injured in the darker mornings, but fewer people were injured in the lighter afternoons.
Although I can’t validate it, I was told that the reason the scheme was scrapped was because, despite there being fewer deaths overall, the media focussed on the ones that did happen as a result of the experiment.
It seems to me that we have a similar problem with artificial intelligence – we’re in danger of focussing on the errors not the benefits. Desperately trying to understand what went wrong and limiting its potential as a result. What the Wired article attempts to do is find solutions that mean we can make the most of AI rather than dumbing it down so we can understand it, and hence control it.
One of the major challenges for the media will be to give a balanced view, rather than taking the easy route of selling bad news. And, it’s also a challenge for us science fiction writers to portray nuanced futures that have both hints of hope and words of warning.
photo credit: campra Kader Attia, Untitled via photopin (license)
Now here’s a thing. A piece of wearable tech that automates flirting.
If it spots someone looking at you via its cameras it diverts its ‘eyes’ towards them and vibrates. As you turn it lets you know when you’re looking at the right person and if you’re both interested it turns its tentacles towards them.
Doesn’t it sound great?
But… I couldn’t help feeling that it looks so unusual its bound to attract attention and mistake a curious stare for sexual attraction. Or even better, that two wearers are tricked into a cycle of implied mutual attraction by mistake.
The more I thought about this the more I thought that maybe mutual mistakes aren’t such a bad thing. After all, who can tell what makes people attracted to one another and a little bit of feeling fancied always helps ease the flirting…
Meet Ripple: A tentacle-shaped wearable device for flirting