Sunday, June 24, 2018

This Swedish Tech School Teaches AI Ethics 'Like A Muscle'; Forbes, June 21, 2018

Parmy Olson, Forbes; This Swedish Tech School Teaches AI Ethics 'Like A Muscle'

"Obvious questions perhaps, but some would argue that consumers today are addicted to social media and smartphones because ethics wasn’t more deeply integrated into leading technology schools like Stanford University in the past, and for the students who went on to lead the likes of Google, Facebook and Apple.

The average person checks their phone more than 150 times a day, says Tash Willcocks, who heads up the Manchester, U.K. division of of Hyper Island. “We live by the design choices of others.”   

Hyper Island has around 150 master’s degree students across the world, mostly in physical classes, paying £11,000 ($14,500) a year to be on the graduate course. “The students’ ability to make ethical considerations should be trained like a muscle,” Wilcocks adds."

MSF Challenges Gilead Hepatitis C Patent In China; Intellectual Property Watch, June 19, 2018

Intellectual Property Watch; MSF Challenges Gilead Hepatitis C Patent In China

"According to the [Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) press] release, “Gilead launched the sofosbuvir/velpatasvir combination at a price of US$51,000 for a 12-week treatment course in the United Kingdom, whereas the same treatment course is available for as low as $286 in India from generic manufacturers. In China, this combination was registered in May 2018, but Gilead has not yet announced its price.”

The sudden rush of vulgar trademarks; The Boston Globe, June 23, 2018

The sudden rush of vulgar trademarks

"There are now at least three different kinds of marks which can be registered without challenge. The first category includes marks that comprise, well, hate speech — the name of the pro football team in Washington, as an example. The second falls into Tam’s context — self-referential marks. 

But the third group is different. Like a team playing defense, these trademark owners seek to register marks to keep the rest of the public from doing so.

In perhaps the most surprising result of the court’s ruling, the applicants for several of the most offensive terms did so not to sell merchandise, but to stop others from doing the same."

Article 13: Europe's hotly debated revamp of copyright law, explained; CNet, June 22, 2018

Katie Collins, CNet; Article 13: Europe's hotly debated revamp of copyright law, explained

"The European Union is trying to pass a hotly debated law on copyright. The European Copyright Directive has been two years in the making, and on June 20, the European Parliament's legal affairs committee voted to approve the draft legislation.

The vote happened less than a month after Europe's last big piece of internet-related legislation -- the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) -- kicked in.

Both the Copyright Directive and GDPR could dramatically impact and change things about the internet as we know it. But they also differ significantly, not just in scope, but also in how they're viewed and received by the world beyond Brussels."

Europe Approves 'Wildly Dangerous' Copyright Rules; Forbes, June 20, 2018

Emma Woollacott, Forbes; Europe Approves 'Wildly Dangerous' Copyright Rules

"The whole internet is set to be subject to ContentID-type filtering in Europe, thanks to new copyright proposals that have been voted through by the European Parliament.

The move raises the specter of a 'tax' on linking to other sites and automated censorship of material identified as violating copyright. However, despite fierce opposition, the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) has approved the controversial Articles 11 and 13 of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.

Article 11, narrowly approved by 13 to 12 votes, requires any site linking to a third-party site with a snippet to adhere to an astonishing 28 separate copyright laws, or else pay for a license to provide the link...

Article 13, meanwhile, was approved by 15 votes to 10 and requires any site which allows users to post material to check it all against a database of copyrighted works, and even to pay for the privilege of accessing the database."

Sunday, June 17, 2018

This isn’t religion. It’s perversion.; The Washington Post, June 15, 2108

This isn’t religion. It’s perversion.

"You don’t have to be a theologian to see the difference between people who do God’s work on earth and those who pervert God’s word to justify inhumanity."

Christian Leaders To Jeff Sessions: The Bible Does Not Justify Separating Families; HuffPost, June 15, 2018

Jennifer Bendery, HuffPost; Christian Leaders To Jeff Sessions: The Bible Does Not Justify Separating Families

"“It makes my blood boil,” said Matthew Schlimm, a professor of the Old Testament at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa. “Sessions has taken the passage from Romans 13 completely out of context. Immediately beforehand and afterwards, Paul urges readers to love others, including their enemies. Anyone with half an ounce of moral conviction knows that tearing children away from parents has nothing to do with love.”

Schlimm noted that people often misuse the Bible. In fact, the same passage Sessions cited has been used to justify slavery and Nazism.

“So, it’s not surprising that slave traders tore children away from their parents and tried to justify it with the Bible. Or that Nazis tore children away from their parents and tried to justify it with the Bible. Sessions follows the pattern of history,” he said. “What’s chilling is to think that we again live in such morally deranged times.”

When the US government snatches children, it's biblical to resist the law; The Guardian, June 15, 2018

, The Guardian; When the US government snatches children, it's biblical to resist the law

"As writer Rachel Held Evans points out in her new book about the bible, Inspired, nearly half of all defenses of slavery in the buildup to the American Civil War were written by Christian ministers citing scripture. Later, many white Christians anchored their objections to the Civil Rights movement in Romans 13 and a decontextualized reading of the apostle Paul.

For every passage in the bible about submitting to authority, there’s another passage about a prophet calling out the authorities. Jesus Christ, himself, was crucified for subverting religious and political authorities. At the very beginning of the Exodus story, a group of midwives disobey a king’s cruel policy targeting children.

These are the kinds of biblical stories that informed Angelina Grimké when she became one of the very few white southern women to openly support the cause of abolition. In her “Appeal to Christian Women of the South” written in 1836, she states: “If a law commands me to sin I will break it ...The doctrine of blind obedience and unqualified submission to any human power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the doctrine of despotism, and ought to have no place among Republicans and Christians.”

There is no divine mandate requiring us to accept an unjust policy or law."

Saturday, June 16, 2018

I Was Fired for Making Fun of Trump; The New York Times, June 15, 2018

Rob Rogers, The New York Times; I Was Fired for Making Fun of Trump

"After 25 years as the editorial cartoonist for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I was fired on Thursday.

I blame Donald Trump.

Well, sort of.

I should’ve seen it coming. When I had lunch with my new boss a few months ago, he informed me that the paper’s publisher believed that the editorial cartoonist was akin to an editorial writer, and that his views should reflect the philosophy of the newspaper.

That was a new one to me.

I was trained in a tradition in which editorial cartoonists are the live wires of a publication — as one former colleague put it, the “constant irritant.” Our job is to provoke readers in a way words alone can’t. Cartoonists are not illustrators for a publisher’s politics...

The paper may have taken an eraser to my cartoons. But I plan to be at my drawing table every day of this presidency."

Friday, June 15, 2018

Risotto, robotics and virtual reality: how Canada created the world's best libraries; The Guardian, June 15, 2018

Linda Besner, The Guardian; Risotto, robotics and virtual reality: how Canada created the world's best libraries

"“Access to information and pathways to learning were the great equalisers of the 20th century,” says Vickery Bowles, Toronto’s head librarian. “In the 21st century, we’re increasingly dependent on access to online services, and understanding of and comfort with that technology.”

 Bowles sees a vital role of the public library in strengthening civic discourse and enabling political participation. Right now, the library is offering workshops on how to run for office or get involved in an election campaign (disclosure: I will be a paid panellist on a planned event in the library’s On Civil Society series). “We’re seeing more and more challenges to our democratic values and principles,” she says."

The only way is ethics: emphasises moral compass amid deluge of data plans; The Register, June 14, 2018

Rebecca Hill, The Register; The only way is ethics: emphasises moral compass amid deluge of data plans

"The UK government has released a guide to help civil servants figure out how to use and procure data science tools ethically as public opinion on slurping continues to circle the drain...

The Data Ethics Framework is one of the ways the government hopes to demonstrate it is taking the issue of proper use of data seriously, aiming to act as a sanity check for civil servants who work with data, either directly or indirectly.

The idea is for the framework to act as a guide to the limitations of data and data science; it sets out questions and issues to consider, such as bias or errors in data sets, algorithmic bias, fairness and accountability, and the need for transparency.

The decision to create the framework is partly down to the increasing number of non-data scientists working with data in one way or another...

In parallel with this is the government's supposedly independent Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, which was first mooted in November 2017 and aims to act as a bridge between regulators, academia, the public and business."

The Guardian view on the ethics of AI: it’s about Dr Frankenstein, not his monster ; The Guardian, June 12, 2018

Editorial, The Guardian; The Guardian view on the ethics of AI: it’s about Dr Frankenstein, not his monster

"But in all these cases, the companies involved – which means the people who work for them – will be actively involved in maintaining, tweaking and improving the work. This opens an opportunity for consistent ethical pressure and for the attribution of responsibility to human beings and not to inanimate objects. Questions about the ethics of artificial intelligence are questions about the ethics of the people who make it and the purposes they put it to. It is not the monster, but the good Dr Frankenstein we need to worry about most."

University of Central Florida fraternity members accused of posting revenge porn on Facebook; CNN, June 14, 2018

Sara O'Brien, CNN; University of Central Florida fraternity members accused of posting revenge porn on Facebook

"The use of a private Facebook page and other online sites to spread nonconsensual pornography -- which is also commonly referred to as "revenge porn" -- isn't a new phenomenon. Closed Facebook groups were at the center of a Penn State fraternity case, in which men were allegedly posting compromising pictures of women on a private Facebook page, as well as a nude photo scandal involving the Marines.

While Facebook has been working to help combat the spread of revenge porn, it also is grappling with hidden groups that share content that could violate its standards...

One in eight American social media users has been a target of nonconsensual pornography, according to a 2017 study conducted by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative."

Leave the Bible out of it, child separation is not ‘Christian’; The Washington Post, June 15, 2018

The Washington Post; Leave the Bible out of it, child separation is not ‘Christian’

"We should point out that invoking this Biblical passage has a long and sordid history in Sessions’s native South. It was oft-quoted by slave-owners and later segregationists to insist on following existing law institutionalizing slavery (“read as an unequivocal order for Christians to obey state authority, a reading that not only justified southern slavery but authoritarian rule in Nazi Germany and South African apartheid”).

I’m no expert in Christianity, but the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was when he drafted his letter from the Birmingham jail:
Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.
Sessions perfectly exemplifies how religion should not be used. Pulling out a Bible or any other religious text to say it supports one’s view on a matter of public policy is rarely going to be effective, for it defines political opponents as heretics."

Sessions cites Bible passage used to defend slavery in defense of separating immigrant families; The Washington Post, June 15, 2018

The Washington Post; Sessions cites Bible passage used to defend slavery in defense of separating immigrant families

"“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said during a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Ind. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.”

Government officials occasionally refer to the Bible as a line of argument — take, for instance, the Republicans who have quoted 2 Thessalonians (“if a man will not work, he shall not eat”) to justify more stringent food stamps requirements.

But the verse that Sessions cited, Romans 13, is an unusual choice.

“There are two dominant places in American history when Romans 13 is invoked,” said John Fea, a professor of American history at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. “One is during the American Revolution [when] it was invoked by loyalists, those who opposed the American Revolution.”

The other, Fea said, “is in the 1840s and 1850s, when Romans 13 is invoked by defenders of the South or defenders of slavery to ward off abolitionists who believed that slavery is wrong. I mean, this is the same argument that Southern slaveholders and the advocates of a Southern way of life made.”"

Sanders says it's 'biblical to enforce the law' when asked about separating families at the border; The Los Angeles Times, June 14, 2018

Colleen Shalby, The Los Angeles Times; Sanders says it's 'biblical to enforce the law' when asked about separating families at the border

"Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions cited the Bible on Thursday in defense of the Trump administration's criminal prosecution of adults who cross the border illegally, effectively separating them from their migrant children. 
“Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order," he said.
When CNN’s Jim Acosta asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to elaborate on the attorney general’s comments, the conversation turned tense.
“Where does it say in the Bible that it’s moral to take children away from their mothers?” Acosta asked.
Sanders said she wasn’t aware of Sessions’ comments, but said, “I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law."

Trump is often depressing. This week, he was sickening.; The Washington Post, June 14, 2018

Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post; Trump is often depressing. This week, he was sickening.

"Trump’s consistent, unnecessary, escalating praise for Kim merits the word “sickening.” Diplomacy may entail saying nice things to bad people for good ends, but Trump’s language about Kim represents a nauseating betrayal of American values — and a telling exposure of Trump’s own.

“Hey, he’s a tough guy,” Trump told Fox News’s Bret Baier. “When you take over a country — a tough country, tough people — and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have. If you can do that at 27 years old, I mean, that’s 1 in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator.”

Baier persisted: “But he’s still done some really bad things.”

 Trump: “Yeah, but so have a lot of other people have done some really bad things. I mean, I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.”

Shades of Trump’s moral equivocating on Russian President Vladimir Putin (“There are a lot of killers. We got a lot of killers,” Trump told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly last year. “What, you think our country is so innocent?”), but so much worse. Consider Trump’s own words less than five months ago: “No regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.”"

An American editorial cartoonist has been fired for skewering Trump. He likely won’t be the last.; The Washington Post, June 15, 2018

Ann Telnaes, The Washington Post; An American editorial cartoonist has been fired for skewering Trump. He likely won’t be the last.

"...[W]ith the firing of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoonist Rob Rogers, we now see that suppressing a free press can be accomplished without an authoritarian president’s orders. Michael Cohen isn’t the only “fixer” Trump has at his disposal.

Rogers has been the editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for more than 25 years. Most working cartoonists have had an occasional idea spiked by his or her editor. But in the past few weeks, editorial director Keith Burris and publisher John Robinson Block have refused to publish six of Rogers’s cartoons, all criticizing Trump or his policies. Block and Burris have also rejected many of Rogers’s rough sketch ideas for several months.

This wasn’t the first time Block has used his position to defend President Trump’s actions; in January he demanded an editorial run in the Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade (where he is also the publisher) supporting Trump’s use of the term “shithole countries.”"

After meeting with North Korean dictator, Trump calls press America's 'biggest enemy'; CNN, June 13, 2018

Brian Stelter, CNN; After meeting with North Korean dictator, Trump calls press America's 'biggest enemy'

"Hours after returning from a trip where he lavished praise on one of the world's worst dictators, President Trump declared that America's biggest enemy is... "fake news."

He singled out NBC and CNN in his angry tweet on Wednesday.

Trump frequently portrays the news media as one of his enemies, but rarely has he been this blunt about it. Wednesday's tweet harkens back to February 2017, when he called several news outlets "the enemy of the American People!"

He was roundly criticized back then. This time, there's been a somewhat more muted reaction, perhaps because he is repeating himself. But it's important to recognize just how extreme this rhetoric is.

No modern American president has publicly spoken this way about the press.

Richard Nixon sometimes talked this way, but only in private.

"Never forget, the press is the enemy. The press is the enemy. The press is the enemy," Nixon told his advisors, according to Oval Office recordings"

Protests greet Brussels copyright reform plan; BBC News, June 15, 2018

BBC News; Protests greet Brussels copyright reform plan

"The vote on the Copyright Directive comes before the European Parliament on 20 June.

It aims to rebalance copyright controls for the net age but critics say it is will stifle freedom of expression.

Net veterans have signed an open letter against the directive and others have made tools to aid lobbying efforts."

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Expert in Native American intellectual property joins ASU Law Indian Legal Program; Arizona State University, June 11, 2018

Arizona State University; Expert in Native American intellectual property joins ASU Law Indian Legal Program

"In 2007, [Trevor Reed] moved to New York and enrolled at Columbia, beginning a decade-plus of music-inspired study that would result in three master’s degrees, a PhD and a Juris Doctor. He initially went to Columbia hoping to break into the music industry, figuring his best shot at a career in the arts would require being in either New York or Los Angeles.

“When I got there, it opened up so many new issues for me,” Reed said. “It just so happens that Columbia owns this massive archive of Native American musical recordings that I don’t know if anybody had really ever heard about. When I learned about that, it sparked an interest in wanting to return music and other types of archival collections, artifacts and other types of intellectual property back to Native American tribes.”

That led to the Hopi Music Repatriation Project, a joint project of the Hopi Tribe and Columbia University, which Reed began leading as a master’s degree student. Think Indiana Jones, the fictitious archaeologist and university professor, but the complete opposite. Instead of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” plundering wondrous works from indigenous cultures, it was “Returners of the Lost Art.” The project focused not only on returning recordings and rights, but also working with tribal leaders, educators and activists to develop contemporary uses for the materials.

“I stayed on at Columbia well after my business degree had finished, and I joined the PhD program in ethnomusicology, which is essentially the anthropology of music,” Reed said. “And we just set to work on this project, and it carried through law school, and I was able to refine my work in copyright and cultural property. It’s been an interesting ride.”"

Sunday, June 10, 2018

How data scientists are using AI for suicide prevention; Vox, June 9, 2018

Brian Resnick, Vox; How data scientists are using AI for suicide prevention

"At the Crisis Text Line, a text messaging-based crisis counseling hotline, these deluges have the potential to overwhelm the human staff.

So data scientists at Crisis Text Line are using machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence, to pull out the words and emojis that can signal a person at higher risk of suicide ideation or self-harm. The computer tells them who on hold needs to jump to the front of the line to be helped.

They can do this because Crisis Text Line does something radical for a crisis counseling service: It collects a massive amount of data on the 30 million texts it has exchanged with users. While Netflix and Amazon are collecting data on tastes and shopping habits, the Crisis Text Line is collecting data on despair.

The data, some of which is available here, has turned up all kinds of interesting insights on mental health."

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

DNA testing service MyHeritage says 92 million customer email addresses were exposed; The Washington Post, June 5, 2018

, The Washington Post; DNA testing service MyHeritage says 92 million customer email addresses were exposed

"One of the world's leading DNA-testing companies recently disclosed that a researcher had found on a private server the email addresses and hashed passwords of every customer that had signed up for its service.

MyHeritage said Monday in a blog post that the breach involved roughly 92 million user accounts that were created through October of last year.

The company said the breach occurred on October 26, 2017. But the service did not learn about the incident until Monday, more than seven months later."

When Scientists Develop Products From Personal Medical Data, Who Gets To Profit?; NPR, May 31, 2018

Richard Harris, NPR; When Scientists Develop Products From Personal Medical Data, Who Gets To Profit?

"If you go to the hospital for medical treatment and scientists there decide to use your medical information to create a commercial product, are you owed anything as part of the bargain?

That's one of the questions that is emerging as researchers and product developers eagerly delve into digital data such as CT scans and electronic medical records, making artificial-intelligence products that are helping doctors to manage information and even to help them diagnose disease.

This issue cropped up in 2016, when Google DeepMind decided to test an app that measures kidney health by gathering 1.6 million records from patients at the Royal Free Hospital in London. The British authorities found this broke patient privacy laws in the United Kingdom. (Update on June 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET: DeepMind says it was able to deploy its app despite the violation.)

But the rules are different in the United States."

Monday, June 4, 2018

4 Big Takeaways from Satya Nadella's Talk at Microsoft Build; Fortune,, May 7, 2018

Jonathan Vanian, Fortune; 4 Big Takeaways from Satya Nadella's Talk at Microsoft Build

"Microsoft Believes in AI and Ethics

Nadella briefly mentioned the company’s internal AI ethics team whose job is to ensure that the company’s foray into cutting-edge techniques like deep learning don’t unintentionally perpetuate societal biases in their products, among other tasks.

 He said that coders need to concentrate on building products that use “good A.I.,” in which the “the choices we make can be good choices for the future.”

Expect more technology companies to talk about AI and ethics as a way to alleviate concerns from the public about the tech industry’s insatiable appetite for data."

Stanford makes a startling new discovery. Ethics; ZDNet, June 4, 2018

, ZDNet; Stanford makes a startling new discovery. Ethics

"Now, in a glorious moment of chest-beating and head-bobbing, Stanford University president Marc Tessier-Lavigne has admitted that his university -- which spawned so many young, great tech titans, such as the founders of Google, Instagram and LinkedIn -- failed to make titanic efforts in the area of ethics. 

In an interview with the Financial Times, he revealed that the university now intends to explore the teaching of "ethics, society and technology."

As we survey the political and social carnage that seems to have been enabled by technology over the last few years, it's remarkable that this wasn't thought of before."

Stanford to step-up teaching of ethics in technology; Financial Times, June 3, 2018

Financial Times; Stanford to step-up teaching of ethics in technology

"The university at the heart of Silicon Valley is to inject ethics into its technology teaching and research amid growing criticism of the excesses of the industry it helped spawn.

The board of Stanford University, one of the world’s richest higher education institutions with an endowment of $27bn, will meet this month to agree funding and a plan to implement the findings of an internal review that recommends a new initiative focused on “ethics, society and technology” and improved access to those on lower incomes."

China Issues Rules to Get Tough on Academic Integrity; Reuters, May 30, 2018

Reuters via New York Times; China Issues Rules to Get Tough on Academic Integrity

"China has issued new guidelines to enforce academic integrity in science that include plans to "record and assess" the conduct of scientists and institutions and punish anyone guilty of misconduct, state news agency Xinhua reported.

The guidelines, released on Wednesday by the ruling Communist Party and the State Council, or cabinet, prohibit plagiarism, fabrication of data and research conclusions, ghost-writing and peer review manipulation, according to Xinhua."

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Issue Brief: The General Data Protection Regulation: What Does It Mean for Libraries Worldwide?; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill via Association of Research Libraries, May 2018

Anne T. Gilliland, Scholarly Communications Officer, University Libraries, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  via Association of Research Libraries; Issue Brief: The General Data Protection Regulation: What Does It Mean forLibraries Worldwide?

"Although GDPR is an EU regulation, it has implications for businesses and institutions that collect data even outside the EU. Anne T. Gilliland, scholarly communications officer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, explains some of the key provisions of GDPR and why its impact reaches worldwide. Gilliland notes that the research library community has ties to Europe and EU citizens. Libraries must therefore consider the implications GDPR will have on their own privacy policies and how to ensure compliance with these new rules. As staunch defenders of privacy rights, libraries have an opportunity to ensure robust protection of users’ rights. Because GDPR has not yet gone into effect, there is no case law or other binding guidance regarding GDPR compliance.

The Association of Research Libraries will continue to monitor developments on GDPR and will publish a follow-up piece focusing on implementation. In the meantime, the following resources may be useful:

• EU’s GDPR Information Portal 

• Library of Congress, “Online Privacy Law: European Union” 

• LIBER, Webinar Video: “GDPR & What It Means for Researchers”"

New Institute Aims for Global Leadership in Computer Modeling and Simulation; PittWire, May 30, 2018

PittWire; New Institute Aims for Global Leadership in Computer Modeling and Simulation

"At Pitt, the plan is to pair AI and machine learning researchers with individuals from academia, industry, nonprofits and the government to develop algorithms designed to address their specific problems and to use modeling experiments to provide concrete solutions.

“One day, presidents and cabinet officers, C-suites and lab directors will say, ‘Don’t tell me what your gut says, tell me what the evidence says; show me your models, show me the possible futures and the best interventions,’” said [Paul] Cohen."

Why Are Academics Upset With Facebook's New Privacy Rules?; Forbes, May 4, 2018

Kalev Leetaru, Forbes; Why Are Academics Upset With Facebook's New Privacy Rules?

"Putting this all together, there is something inherently wrong with a world in which academics condemn Facebook for conducting consent-free research on its users, only to turn around and condemn the company again when it tries to institute greater privacy protections that would prevent academics from doing the same, all while those very same academics partner with Facebook to create a new research initiative that entirely removes consent from the equation and where ethical considerations are unilaterally TBD, to be figured out after researchers decide what they want to do with two billion people’s private information. Cambridge University’s ethics panel gives us hope that there are still some institutions that believe in the ethical protections that took decades to build, only to fall like dominoes in the digital “big data” era. In the end, it is not just the social media giants and private companies rushing to commercialize our digital selves and stave off any discussion of privacy protections – the academic community is running right alongside helping to clear the way."

An American Alternative to Europe’s Privacy Law; The New York Times, May 30, 2018

Tim Wu, The New York Times; An American Alternative to Europe’s Privacy Law

"To be sure, a European-style regulatory system operates faster and has clearer rules than an American-style common-law approach. But the European approach runs the risk of being insensitive to context and may not match our ethical intuitions in individual cases. If the past decade of technology has taught us anything, it is that we face a complex and varied array of privacy problems. Case-by-case consideration might be the best way to find good solutions to many of them and, when the time comes (ifthe time comes), to guide the writing of general federal privacy legislation.

A defining fact of our existence today is that we share more of ourselves with Silicon Valley than with our accountants, lawyers and doctors. It is about time the law caught up with that."

[Podcast] "Roseanne" and ethics in business; Marketplace, May 29, 2018

[Podcast] Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood, Marketplace, "Roseanne" and ethics in business

"When we called up business ethicist Greg Fairchild from the University of Virginia this morning, we expected to have a wide-ranging conversation to get at Kai's question of a few weeks back: Are there market-based solutions to ensure better ethics? We didn't expect we'd have such a timely case study in Disney-owned ABC and "Roseanne." The network canceled its show hours after a racist tweet from star Roseanne Barr. We got the Darden School of Business professor's reaction as the news played out in the way it always seems to these days: fast, furious and on Twitter."

How a Pentagon Contract Became an Identity Crisis for Google; The New York Times, May 30, 2018

Scott Shane, Cade Metz and Daisuke Wakabayashi, The New York Times; How a Pentagon Contract Became an Identity Crisis for Google

"The polarized debate about Google and the military may leave out some nuances. Better analysis of drone imagery could reduce civilian casualties by improving operators’ ability to find and recognize terrorists. The Defense Department will hardly abandon its advance into artificial intelligence if Google bows out. And military experts say China and other developed countries are already investing heavily in A.I. for defense.

But skilled technologists who chose Google for its embrace of benign and altruistic goals are appalled that their employer could eventually be associated with more efficient ways to kill."

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

ABC just took a moral stand on Roseanne. Spoiler alert: Donald Trump won't.; CNN, May 29, 2018

Chris Cillizza, CNN; ABC just took a moral stand on Roseanne. Spoiler alert: Donald Trump won't.

"ABC's decision to cancel Roseanne Barr's eponymous show following a racist comment she made about former Obama administration official Valerie Jarrett on Twitter was shocking for two reasons.

First, because it amounted to a TV network drawing a moral line in the sand -- insisting that no amount of money or ratings gave Roseanne the right to express views that ABC described in a statement as "abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values."

Second, because that decision to take a moral stand represents a stark contrast from the moral relativism preached by the president of the United States.

Donald Trump is different from anyone who has held the office before him in all sorts of ways. But, to my mind, the biggest -- and most critical -- difference between Trump and his predecessors is his total abdication of the concept of the president as a moral leader for the country and the world."

Why thousands of AI researchers are boycotting the new Nature journal ; Guardian, May 29, 2018

Neil Lawrence, Guardian;
Many in our research community see the Nature brand as a poor proxy for academic quality. We resist the intrusion of for-profit publishing into our field. As a result, at the time of writing, more than 3,000 researchers, including many leading names in the field from both industry and academia, have signed a statement refusing to submit, review or edit for this new journal. We see no role for closed access or author-fee publication in the future of machine-learning research. We believe the adoption of this new journal as an outlet of record for the machine-learning community would be a retrograde step."

"Biometric Privacy Laws: Best Practices for Compliance and Litigation Update"; American Bar Association Continuing Legal Education Webinar, May 30, 2018 1 PM - 2 PM ET

American Bar Association Continuing Legal Education Webinar

"Biometric Privacy Laws: Best Practices for Compliance and Litigation Update
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May 30, 2018
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Learn about the current state of biometrics litigation under Illinois and other state laws and the future of biometric privacy law.
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The past 18 months have seen a major spike in class action lawsuits alleging that companies have improperly collected and handled biometric information, the vast majority of which asserted claims under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). In this program, a panel that includes attorneys representing employers, as well as both defendants and plaintiffs in litigation, will discuss the current state of biometrics litigation under BIPA and other state laws, what companies should do to comply, and what recent legal trends portend for the future of biometric privacy law."