There are loads of things that are going on with technology. This is a run-through of some news of what I've looked at - not everything in detail, but they do span the range of issues I look at - how digital technology X geopolitics X regulation X ethics X climate.
The world's techno-sphere might be divided along geopolitical lines - US, EU and China, each with their distinct paths? https://warontherocks.com/2021/01/a-world-divided-the-conflict-with-chinese-techno-nationalism-isnt-coming-its-already-here/
Old Post - algorithmically-generated advice makes to top of Hacker News: https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/08/14/1006780/ai-gpt-3-fake-blog-reached-top-of-hacker-news/?utm_medium=tr_social&utm_campaign=site_visitor.unpaid.engagement&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR1H5ovow9oo8eWFb_jd4W-vPuojJeJ5BdQRbSAWUnpOfyLlSXFQYNYlpAU#Echobox=1612302360
Service Revolution - intelligent and service robots: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346392669_The_Service_Revolution_Intelligent_Automation_and_Service_Robots?fbclid=IwAR3ikBcBxtwWjlUGLuuMWUY74QzG7rgdmNPHYSfRdgsuQoDZabqEdhruGrQ
Reading about how automakers are actually dependent on chips, and how there's a chip shortage is affecting automobile production. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/shortage-in-chips-puts-u-s-national-security-at-risk-11612373012 and https://www.counterpointresearch.com/mega-wave-capex-cycle-logic-semiconductor-industry/ Ford had to cut production of their vehicles due to the chip supply disruption: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/04/ford-forced-to-cut-pickup-production-due-to-semiconductor-shortage-.html
AI X Bias
Artificial Intelligence is extremely biased. In this report, about how computer 'auto-completes' images in sexist ways. https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/01/29/1017065/ai-image-generation-is-racist-sexist/?utm\_medium=tr\_social&utm\_campaign=site\_visitor.unpaid.engagement&utm\_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR3mG2EacA36haoslpBWXHkjVf5TWacKuhKM8WrlSZKx2uyYRRFYplxK4vg#Echobox=1611946136
Censorship might be creating bias in how machine learning algos label different words, especially politically-charged ones: https://www.wired.com/story/how-censorship-can-influence-artificial-intelligence/?mc_cid=6525c35d6e&mc_eid=0fb39b30ab
Clearview AI - a company in the area of facial recognition - is labeled as illegal in Canada. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/03/technology/clearview-ai-illegal-canada.html?mc_cid=6525c35d6e&mc_eid=0fb39b30ab and how facial recognition tech is a mess: https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/02/05/1017388/ai-deep-learning-facial-recognition-data-history/?truid=bbd329e1a04ee7a9516c1d761f6545d3&utm_source=the_algorithm&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the_algorithm.unpaid.engagement&utm_content=02-06-2021&mc_cid=6525c35d6e&mc_eid=0fb39b30ab
Google and ethics - an increasingly difficult fit: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-alphabet-resignations/two-google-engineers-resign-over-firing-of-ai-ethics-researcher-timnit-gebru-idUSKBN2A4090?mc_cid=6525c35d6e&mc_eid=0fb39b30ab
A commentary from AEON (good essays!) about the metaphysical aspects of machine intelligence: https://aeon.co/essays/can-a-robot-pray-does-an-automaton-have-a-soul-ai-and-theology-meet
Regulation and Tech
Antitrust and power structures are becoming the subjects of legislation and crackdowns - not just in the US, with various levels of conflicts, but also in China as well - perhaps more over potential political control.
There's Facebook fighting with Apple over privacy implementation. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/12/16/tech/facebook-apple-ios-privacy-rules/index.html On the other hand, Google is adapting to these changes. https://www.cnet.com/news/google-switches-ad-tracking-ahead-of-apple-privacy-update/
An overview of the antitrust issues the large tech companies have in the US. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/22/21070898/big-tech-antitrust-amazon-apple-google-facebook-house-hearing-congress-break-up
On the other hand, the Chinese party-state is going down hard on their own champions as well: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/ant-group-fintech-rival-jd-102313239.html
Climate X AI
AI training still takes much energy: https://www.nature.com/articles/s42256-020-0219-9?proof=t; yet also can be important for sustainable development. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-14108-y
Some Odds and Ends
China is setting up a Central Bank-backed Digital Currency (CBDCs) through this partnership woth SWIFT, and now will prompt other countries to come up with similar things. https://www.reuters.com/article/china-swift-pboc-idUSL1N2KA0MS
An explainer of the digital yuan: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-currency-digital-explainer-idUSKBN27411T
Listening to Azeem Azhar's Exponential View talk about photonic/optical approaches to a practicable quantum computer. https://hbr.org/podcast/2021/02/building-a-quantum-computer-with-light
A practicable quantum computer is important for various reasons - not just for cryptography, but also in terms of how people might engineer and design better materials for all the problems we need. The podcast episode mentioned how it would be cool to be able to look at nitrogenase - the enzyme that locks in nitrogen from the atmosphere - any thermodynamic improvement over the Haber-Bosch process would be BIG for fertilizers and ammonia, and indirectly for the hydrogen economy.