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Big Revolution - The Wizard of Oz effect

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Welcome to Friday's Big Revolution, coming to you from a particularly cold North of England. – Martin
 
January 11 · Issue #314 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Friday’s Big Revolution, coming to you from a particularly cold North of England.
Martin

Big things you need to know today
  • The EU ‘right to be forgotten’ does not apply globally. That’s according to a preliminary opinion in a European Court of Justice case. Google does not want to have to delist information from all versions of its search engine around the world.
  • Amazon is working on a game-streaming platform, but it may not see the light of day until next year, The Information reports.
The big thought
The Wizard of Oz effect
The Intercept reports that Amazon’s Ring home security products use a team of humans in Ukraine to help spot suspicious activity at owners homes. The humans supplement A.I. that is supposed to do the job but is nowhere near good enough to be reliable.
Ring has been criticised for not being clear that it’s humans doing the work. But that’s the big lie about ‘artificial intelligence’ – all too often there are humans doing work that users might think is entirely automated.
Our expectations – fed by flashy tech company presentations and drooling tech press articles – are that A.I. is so smart now that it can do all sorts of incredible things that in reality require human input to carry out at scale. The marketing has outpaced the technology.
It’s like (spoiler alert for an 80-year-old film!) when the Wizard of Oz – initially thought to be a mysterious and powerful being – is revealed to be a little old man with a fraction of the abilities he claimed to have.
At some point, tech companies are going to have to be straight with us about what’s automation and what’s human-powered. But I can’t help but feel that we’ll feel (aside from concern that strangers are examining our personal data) disillusioned that the world isn’t getting more exciting at the speed we were led to believe it would.
One big read
How Cartographers for the U.S. Military Inadvertently Created a House of Horrors in South Africa How Cartographers for the U.S. Military Inadvertently Created a House of Horrors in South Africa
Every now and then, some poor soul’s house becomes the focus of unwanted attention due to substandard geolocation technology. This is a particularly scary case in point.
That’s all for today...
Back tomorrow with a weekend edition, packed with good reads. This newsletter grows largely through word of mouth so please share it with friends and colleagues if you like it, and suggest they subscribe!
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