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futuribile / curating futures - Issue #27 - A European approach to AI

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Aloha, Politico leaked a draft white paper sketching a European approach to artificial intelligence.
 
January 23 · Issue #27 · View online
futuribile / curating futures
Aloha,
Politico leaked a draft white paper sketching a European approach to artificial intelligence. The document is meant to support the European Parliament promise of initiating regulation of AI within 100 days of office.
The Politico’s headline and other sources which picked up the news focus on the proposal to ban facial recognition in public spaces (see last issue for more materials) which despite being a very important topic, is not the focus of the document.
Firstly, the ban is one out of five regulatory options, but it is not in the rose of three recommended: mandatory risk-based requirements for high-risk applications; safety and liability; governance. As Stefan Heumann highlights on Twitter, “the rejection of the facial recognition ban (focus on public sector) indicates that the Commission will seek to avoid a fight with member states on adoption of AI by security agencies and public administrations”, and the dismissal of Option 1 (voluntary labelling) is “a clear rejection of the light touch approach favored by the United States”.
Secondly, in times of “groundbreaking” AI checklists and ethical recommendations, the white paper does a good job in pointing out how AI is already subject to a lot of EU legislation including fundamental rights, consumer law, product safety, liability. The paper identifies the weaknesses of the current legal framework, but goes more in the direction of complementing it than reinventing the wheel.
Finally, the document bets boldly on projections for 2025 about edge computing and IoT: a 80% of data stored locally at the edge of networks would mean freeing the EU from its competitive disadvantage in data access, caused by its limited weight in consumer applications and online platforms. The timing may not be realistic, but it’s an interesting challenge of the narrative that wants the EU squeezed between US and China giants.
Aloha,
Marta Arniani
PS let’s meet for a coffee break/apèro: I will be in Paris Jan. 30-31 (ChangeNOW); Brussels Feb. 10 (Blockchain for Good Prize final); Barcelona Feb. 23-25 (Mobile World Congress + 4YFN)

Scientists from Google and the Janelia Research Campus in Virginia have published the largest high-resolution map of brain connectivity: a 3D model that traces 20 million synapses connecting some 25,000 neurons in the brain of a fruit fly.
Scientists from Google and the Janelia Research Campus in Virginia have published the largest high-resolution map of brain connectivity: a 3D model that traces 20 million synapses connecting some 25,000 neurons in the brain of a fruit fly.
Balancing public space and tech providers
He invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously, and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security.
Under the harmless title “The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It” (#nostress) the New York Times traces a profile of Hoan Ton-That, the creator of Clearview AI. The tool helps law enforcement match photos of unknown people to their online images, utilising a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites . 🥂
Here you have a very good reflection about the militarisation of public space:
More than providing any real deterrence, Ring militarizes public space by helping construct a web of police surveillance that would be otherwise impossible. Individual homeowners would likely balk if police asked to put cameras in front of every person’s house. Sold by Amazon and ostensibly owned and controlled by homeowners, those same cameras are embraced.
Meanwhile, New York has launched an Internet Master Plan which aims to bring broadband access to under served neighborhoods. It entails making available to private companies existing infrastructure like rooftops and light poles to build new connective ones. It’s the first time that city assets are made available to multiple providers to share those assets for a variety of technology.
It would be cool if all this tech dissemination in the city could at least integrate also health restorative elements like music. A hotel in NY is hosting a collaboration between Microsoft and Bjork: the music played in the lobby will adapt to sunrises, sunsets, and changes in barometric pressure, using a live camera feed from the hotel roof.
Otherwise, there is always the option “…what if we ditched the data and embraced ancient technology instead?”. A pledge for dumb cities making use of low-tech.
Shots
“Facebook is about advertising dollars to people who pay to be able to pay. We believe in building $8bn of voice on the platform for dads who are hungry for coffee.” In case you lost it: the fantastic fictional interview with Zuckerbot.
Axios reports that Softbank walked away from investing in 3 startups - months after submitting term sheets worth hundreds of millions of dollars and promising that closing delays were only temporary. Commentators expect Vision Fund 2 to be significantly smaller than the first.
How Big Tech manipulates academia to avoid regulation. You can double down with Data & Society’s Owning Ethics, a reflection about the proliferation of new ethics positions in tech.
En-ROADS is a climate change solutions simulator that lets you test different scenarios through a very easy interface.
Breaking down the screen time: Stanford researchers developed a tool to “map the human screenome” and understand better social challenges involving media – from fake news to smartphone addiction to social media and mental health.
Oh, dear!
An e-scooter cemetery in Mission Beach, San Diego. A study published in August posited that whatever emissions electric scooters saved were offset by the greenhouse gas that gig workers expended chasing after scooters to perform maintenance and charging duties (link in picture).
An e-scooter cemetery in Mission Beach, San Diego. A study published in August posited that whatever emissions electric scooters saved were offset by the greenhouse gas that gig workers expended chasing after scooters to perform maintenance and charging duties (link in picture).
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That’s all, hit reply for feedback, forward and share to support my work.
Aloha,
Marta

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