🎸 Rolling Stone does a BEAUTIFUL intro to AI and robots
: “For better or worse, whatever future we create, it will be the one we design and build for ourselves. To paraphrase an old adage about the structure of the universe: It’s humans all the way down.” Not much new here, but a well written seven-minute read.
On the subject of the future, we design and build ourselves, here is a video of a Boston Dynamics robot dog playing with a real dog
. Spot the section where the young man operating the robot jokes that he is moving it into ‘battle mode’. And I guess this is the problem, the future we design and build ourselves, would we prefer if the people coding our robots instinctively reached for 'co-operation mode’ rather than 'battle mode’? I’d love to speak to the guy in the video - there is a good discussion to be had about ethical frameworks in AI design.
But semantic relationships can only be learnt from the data that goes into the system. (Remember word2vec’s crazy abstractions
? Or the Google photos’ gorillas catastrophe?) This cross-section of old British and American literature reflects the politics, power dynamics and beliefs of the time. Kipling’s Jungle Book
is amongst this canon: a book which has a well-identified and troubling relationship with colonial prejudices and racist undertones. As a parent taking a child through the Jungle Book, we can make the child aware of those dimensions and put it, and Kipling himself, in a wider context. (See also last week’s EV on Priors & Prejudice
It would be comforting to know a cultural anthropologist or a critical theorist was embedded with the team providing some kind of lens into the perspectives embedded in those texts. Has Facebook done this? I don’t know but it’s unsettling.