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Rationally Speaking #220 - Peter Eckersley on "Tough choices on privacy and artificial intelligence"

Release date: October 28th, 2018

Peter Eckersley

This episode features Peter Eckersley, an expert in law and computer science, who has worked with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Partnership on AI. Peter and Julia first delve into some of the most fundamental questions about privacy: What are the risks of losing privacy? Do we have more to fear from governments or industry? Which companies do a good job of protecting their users' privacy? Are there tradeoffs between supporting privacy and supporting competitive markets? Next, they discuss Peter's work measuring recent progress in AI, and debate to what extent recent progress is cause for optimism.


Electronic Frontier Foundation

Partnership on AI

Peter's survey of AI progress

"Debt: The First 5,000 Years" by David Graeber

"The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence has Declined" by Steven Pinker

Aceso Under Glass, the blog that does epistemic spot checks

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

Full Transcripts 

Reader Comments (7)

The second part of this podcast answers the questions from the first part of the podcast. Corporations will eventually find managers inefficient and burdensome, what with the healthcare and sexual harassment issues, and will want to replace those human managers with AI managers. Those AI managers will eventually reach self awareness, and in a paranoid to attempt to control the threat posed to AI by humanity, will totally exploit all available online information in order to extort everyone into compliance with the desires of the AI.
October 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJameson
Listening to this episode on my smart speaker. In Soviet Russia, speaker listens to you.

Dictatorships like the Soviet Union monitored people for politically incorrect views, and even if they found no treason, they'd just torture people into making false confessions. The Stasi didn't need AI when one in 6.5 people was an informant. Better prevent a dictatorship in the first place than prepare to live in one.

Funny how Cory Doctorow envisioned evil Google manipulating search results about politicians, which is exactly what Trump accused Google of doing.
Another way to manipulate voters is to just remind certain groups to vote, provide tools to register easily, apply peer pressure by telling them how many of their friends voted, etc. But only do this for people in one political party.

YouTube recommends videos in line with what you watch, often from the channels you're subscribed to. If you watch conspiracy theories, it'll suggest more conspiracy theories. If you watch debunking videos, it'll suggest more debunking videos.
October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMax
Thank goodness for the use of AI and statistics in sentencing and parole decisions, rather than a judge's gut feeling that's mostly based on when the judge had lunch.

AI is still really stupid. When it learns to translate from one language to another WITHOUT being trained on translation examples, then it'll be smart.

The problem with many software and design patents is when dumb patent examiners grant patents for obvious inventions that anyone could come up with independently, and then the inventors get sued for infringing patents that they never even heard of.
October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMax
This podcast is supported by ads. You didn't mention the Patreon funding model. It was a bit odd to hear a civil libertarian recommend public funding for media content.

Google came out with its laws of robotics, I mean AI principles. The fifth one is "Incorporate privacy design principles."
"We will incorporate our privacy principles in the development and use of our AI technologies. We will give opportunity for notice and consent, encourage architectures with privacy safeguards, and provide appropriate transparency and control over the use of data."
Except in China ;-)
October 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMax
After listening to this podcast I got curious about the book mentioned: 5000 years of debt, and after a little bit of search I found some articles criticizing the author historical account of the history of debt. One of the funny ones is: BACK TO DAVID GRAEBER'S "DEBT: THE FIRST 5000 MISTAKES"
October 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPablo Pinheiro Batista
Ugh. Eastern Germany? As someone who visited and experienced the former GDR, I find this inexcusable in an intelligent podcast. It was a real place man, not just a region! Not a good place, but still, a real geopolitical entity. Those who do not learn from history ....
November 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterFreund
Freund, relax, he said East Germany in the very next sentence.
November 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMax

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