The Singularity is a white person’s problem

terminator

Rich white folks worry about the Singularity, but AI is already making problems for the rest of us.

Kate Crawford, The New York Times:

According to some prominent voices in the tech world, artificial intelligence presents a looming existential threat to humanity: Warnings by luminaries like Elon Musk and Nick Bostrom about “the singularity” — when machines become smarter than humans — have attracted millions of dollars and spawned a multitude of conferences.

But this hand-wringing is a distraction from the very real problems with artificial intelligence today, which may already be exacerbating inequality in the workplace, at home and in our legal and judicial systems. Sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination are being built into the machine-learning algorithms that underlie the technology behind many “intelligent” systems that shape how we are categorized and advertised to.

Software used to assess the risk of recidivism in criminals is biased against blacks, as is software used by police departments across the US to identify hotspots for crime. Amazon’s same-day delivery service was initially unavailable for ZIP codes in predominantly black neighborhoods, “remarkably similar to those affected by mortgage redlining in the mid-20th century.” And women are less likely than men to be shown ads on Google for highly paid jobs.

Thanks, Cory!

Best use of an emoji in a philosophical article

Elon Musk thinks we all live in a video game. So what if we do? [David Roberts – Vox]

These assertions are not so much true or false as, well, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Even if we are simulations living in a simulation, there’s no way to find out for sure, no Matrix-like red pill we can take to see the underlying reality. Everything that we thought mattered to us before we learned we were simulations, still matters.

Elon Musk is suing the government to stop awarding no-bid contracts for national security satellite launches.

The Air Force awards lucrative launch contracts to a sole rocket provider, United Launch Alliance (ULA), on a non-competitive basis.

Musk says it’s a continuing monopoly, unfairly blocking SpaceX from competing, and costing taxpayers billions.

ULA is a joing venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin that manufactures Delta IV and Atlas V unmanned, expendable rockets that are currently the only boosters certified to launch high value military payloads at issue in the lawsuit. Musk wants his newer and much cheaper Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets certified and includd in competition for launch contracts.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Sues Government to Break US Air Force’s National Security Launch Monopoly.