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    The New Yorker | Matthew Hutson | 2/15/21 | 25 min
    6 reads9 comments
    8.5
    The New Yorker
    6 reads
    8.5
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    • Alexa
      ScoutScribe
      1 week ago

      This one really drew me in, but I also spend a lot of time thinking about the ethics of technology.

      I have this weird tension over this topic. One half of me say hell yea, please rein in some of this madness before our tech overlords ruin everything...the other half is the more libertarian half that wants to preserve freedom & independence and who doesn't believe government could legislate or regulate themselves out of a wet paper bag.

      Perhaps there are lessons from the biological sciences and their ethics model, but then again...also flawed.

      I just want 1984 to remain fiction.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        1 week ago

        Ya riled me up!

        • Alexa
          ScoutScribe
          1 week ago

          here for it! lol

          • Karenz1 week ago

            Fascinating for me to read. SO much im learning from Readup that I had no idea of. Ai seems potentially harmful in a lot of arenas but helpful in areas like medical research. I’m just relieved to see that some folks are concerned about the ethics of its applications!!!

    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      1 week ago

      A few weeks ago, in an article about a crazy meeting at the White House, I remember thinking “Sidney Powell is just plain evil.” (Read that piece, you’ll see what I mean.) Obviously, a thought like that is pretty crazy, powerful, negative, bad. When it happens, I try to remind myself: “There are no wrong people. People can’t be evil.

      But anyway, sometimes I just can’t help it. And I don’t think it’s “wrong” to feel that way. And, in fact, if you share those feelings openly and honestly, maybe it can lead to productive conversation. So, here goes:

      It happened to me again. When I was reading this piece, I literally just kept thinking really bad thoughts about Alex Hanna. Like, wtf is wrong with you?! You work at Google (!) which actually commercializes evil technology, at scale, and yet you’re on some high horse about how science itself should evolve?”

      I know that I could probably sit down with Alex and have a good conversation. But this article makes it seem like Alex has zero common sense, fake morals, and one true goal: stir up shit on the internet as a method of self-advancement and getting attention.

      Newsflash: We are the problem. You, me, and especially our ancestors who made us all prejudiced and discriminatory.

      Of course technology can create new problems. I’m glad that the Manhattan Project came up. We probably shouldn’t focus on tech that’s built to kill people or cause harm. But, on the flip side, we should DIVE IN to tech that shines an unflattering light on our biases; we can really learn from this.

      Also, am I still reading, in 2021 (?) about how gender isn’t biological? Overall, I enjoyed reading this, but there were triggering sentences sprinkled all over the place that made me want to throw my device across the room.

      “there are the kinds of A.I. that could easily be weaponized against populations”

      Of course! But this makes it seem like every cop car and every hand gun isn’t being used against vulnerable populations. The State is the problem. Also, we are our own problem. Blaming technology and science fits perfectly with the book-burning dystopian vibe of modern life. But the problem with this “debate” is that it’s not actually a debate, it’s a game to get more attention on Twitter.

      I hate that Twitter comes up so frequently in articles like this without more precise condemnation. I guess everyone just accepts that Twitter is reality now. But we should spend our time railing against that instead of wondering whether A.I. researchers have deep enough ethical compasses and moral infrastructure built into their careers.

      Those were some messy thoughts. Here’s an attempt to summarize: I don’t think we have an “ethics in science” problem. I think we have a racism problem and a Twitter problem. So let’s get back to the real work, shall we?

      1. Update (2/18/2021):

        Correction: “isn’t biological” should be “doesn’t have a biological context”

      • Alexa
        ScoutScribe
        1 week ago

        I guess everyone just accepts that Twitter is reality now

        I'm not convinced it's everyone, I think it's just journalists who are, on the whole, massively addicted to twitter who think/act like it's reality. Hence why we see so many twitter kerfuffles reported on as if they were real things that happened in the real world.

        I'm reading this book rn (which I will gladly send to you next Bill) called Analogia and where I've read so far it unpacks that we've been doing this shit with technology FOREVER, like since early 1700s and earlier when technology was sending morse code over distance with mirrors.

        Humans will weaponize literally anything.

        I used to think it was a primarily American thing to see something and be like "oooh, a [chemical/plant/mirror/sandwich/etc], nice...can we weaponize it?" but I'm starting to wonder if it's just a trait deeply coded in some humans to FTW

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          1 week ago

          Ah! Alexa, this:

          I think it's just journalists who are, on the whole, massively addicted to twitter who think/act like it's reality. Hence why we see so many twitter kerfuffles reported on as if they were real things that happened in the real world.

          My response: 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

          Your comment calls to mind something that my great grandmother wrote in her journal. Can't remember if I showed this to you yet:

          Rose

          Papers were full of war news, these news seemed to inflame the readers mind. There was only one thing to talk about now, "War."

          The Press, fully conscious of its Power, became the most potent influence on the thinking of most Americans, pandering to prejudice and fear.

          Fear kills freedom.

          • Alexa
            ScoutScribe
            1 week ago

            holy cow, I haven't seen this particular excerpt. WAOW. for all we think we've changed we're still running the same basic OS after all these years, amazing

      • Alexa
        ScoutScribe
        1 week ago

        and we FOR SURE have a racism and twitter problem. no question.