by Stephen Downes
Apr 25, 2016
For those who don't think privacy is an issue with people (and there are many) consider this: you have to go out of your way to use a service like Tor, which is designed to help you browse the web anonymously. So when we consider that a million people are using Tor to access Facebook, that's a significant number. "Tor, an acronym for The Onion Routing Project, blocks access to any individual user’s location by directing traffic through a free, worldwide volunteer network consisting of thousands of relays that encrypt and re-encrypt data multiple times."
As is always the case, the stuff that can be done by technical people today will be provided by some application for everyone tomorrow. In this post Tom Woodward demonstrates how to use Google Sheets to grab data from a variety of sites, including YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, and more. Alan levine comments, "Now we’re talking, or scraping.... The API way is the way, writing something to get info from flickr is not hard. The tripping point is authentication. Getting those keys is a PITA. Wonder about doing some authorization stuff the way Martin Hawksey does the twitter auth in his TAGs sheets."
It's worth noting that the research we've conducted over the last half-dozen years on MOOCs and personal learning was conducted according to strict ethical guidelines, including informed consent to participate in research. A lot of current research on MOOCs and social networks conform to no such conditions. And, as Graham Attwell notes, the impact of this is magnified when we consider the online disinhibition effect, which is essentially the fact that people will say a lot more online than they would in person, created by (for example) "a feeling that online communication is taking place in one’s head, again leading to disinhibition." Image: Alanna Dunbar.
Computers can now probably pass the Turing test for artificial intelligence: they can convince a human that they are interacting with another human in conversation. But could thy pass the Allen test: pass an eighth grade science exam? Daniel Lemire discusses this possibility. But I took a slightly different take on the challenge when reading the post: do people have to pass the eighth grade science test in order to be considered to have human-level intelligence? I also wonder about this conclusion: "All three winners expressed that it was clear that applying a deeper, semantic level of reasoning with scientific knowledge to the questions and answers would be the key to achieving scores of 80% and beyond." Right now the best solutions are data-search and indexing. My challenge would be: could an associative system pass an eighth grade science test? Here's more on the Allen test. Here's the Press Release.
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