Ethics, write Emanuel Moss and Jacob Metcalf, is too big a word to use to describe the state of affairs in the technology world. It actually encompasses four overlapping concepts: moral justice, corporate values, legal risk, and compliance. "The question of what ethics is has very different answers depending on where one sits." they write. "The ethics of technology looks very different outside the tech industry than it does on the inside, and not simply because of conflicting principles or values between techies and their critics... it is a different goal from that of moral justice, which seeks to hold tech companies accountable for their enormous leverage over how our lives are lived and our society is organized. " One could say cynically that such confusion has arisen because in a corporate environment ethics has been reduced to a minimum standard of legal compliance.
A large number of people are talking today about this article. In it, Facebook announces that it has built and open-sourced Blender, its "largest-ever open-domain chatbot." The reviews are mixed. After trolling through the training logs, Tomer Ullman writes, "1. Clearly some 'humans' are bots. 2. Some of this probably wouldn't get through an IRB." Others questioned the wisdom of basing its training set on Reddit posts. Jesse Lehrich comments, "Facebook has a new chatbot prone to lying. Or as they call it... hallucinating knowledge."
This article begins by asking what we would like in a successful research infrastructure, moves easily into interoperability, and settles on persistent identifiers (PID). Part of the problem with PID is that there are numerous PID schemes for researchers, resources, and everything else, "including for organizations (ROR), grants (DOI, PURL), projects (RAiD), conferences (DOI, Accession number), instruments (DOI, RRID), and cultural artefacts (DOI, URN). Plus ORCID iDs, of course." One issue is that different tools are developed for different disciplines. But also, from my perspective, we see tools also developed to advance specific (read: commercial) agendas. Once we get past the idea that publishers can own (and charge for) these elements of a common research infrastructure, maybe we'll get one.
" Even a small probability of achieving AGI in the next decade justifies paying attention to developments in the field, given the potentially dramatic inflection point that AGI could bring about in society. As LeCun explains: 'There is a thin domain of research that, while having ambitious goals of making progress towards human-level intelligence, is also sufficiently grounded in science and engineering methodologies to bring real progress in technology. That’s the sweet spot.'"
This item reminds me of the relationships between different modal logic systems. It describes the relationships between different models of consistency in distributed systems. Consistency is itself an underappreciated property in computer systems - we take it for granted, but couldn't live without it. Consistency lies at the heart of distributed editing systems such as GitHub, and constitutes the core innovation of the recent (and much-derided) blockchain systems. There is a logic of consistency, as demonstrated by this diagram, just as there is a logic of statements about possibility and necessity.
According to the authors, "while instructional designers have a strong awareness of, and desire to advocate for, OEP in their institutions, their ability to move forward was limited by perceived barriers such as lack of relevant mandates and professional workload recognition, policy development and funding, awareness, and leadership support." These are just the things that might change as a result of the current crisis in education - or, they might just be the points where administrations clamp down, reducing instructional designers to the role of servicing commercial learning initiatives. Anyhow, this is a survey of perceptions paper (17 page PDF), so a lot depends on the sampling process, which (as usual) is weak, with only 43 self-selected surveys being returned.
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