One day Fall of 2017 in Magerko’s Expressive Computing seminar, he lept to his feet after reading a news snippet that appeared on his laptop. If my memory serves me correctly, I think he called Elon Musk a moron after some comment he made about AI. Unfortunately as in Bogost’s article Musk is surrounded by good company. Although I think Gates isn’t worried about a Sci-Fi dystopia, but more of the economic implications of AI implementations. I think he has in mind the growing social wealth disparities that will grow exponentially as new technologies displace human labor on scales not seen since the industrial revolution. This is a less sexy claim to make. Hollywood can’t make a good movie about social inequity. But Bogost is right AI as a catch-all term is pointless. The article written by Jerry Kaplan that Bogost mentions is very blunt. “Machines are not people, and there’s no persuasive evidence that they are on a path toward sentience.” I’ve never seen it stated this clearly and it doesn’t make for a good news or marketing.
Kate Crawford’s talk spells out the more near-sighted stakes in public policy surrounding AI. Shall we rely on Europe to get it right? Especially when the stakes around diversity are different from “ours” or globally. Do we need specialized data sets? Is the geopolitics of AI, between the US and China, potentially another form of colonialism?
Here’s a couple of things we can try out in class. Has anyone is tried https://thispersondoesnotexist.com
This website, created by Philip Wang, presents a random computer generated photo of a fictional person. Every time you refresh there’s a new face. You can infer how these pictures skew, heavily white, few black with a smattering of Asian. Also, https://havetheyfaked.me/ takes the same data set and searches for a match using your selfie. It should promote discussion. According to the second website, my face was very close to being faked.